I know that each company can have its own policy about personal packages delivered to the office. However how far these policies could go? For example could the company take the package and refuse to give it to the employee? Also what happens about this matter if the company has no official policy?


Some jurisdictions (e.g. the United States) have laws forbidding anyone from interfering with the mail, which would apply if the package were sent via the government postal service.

The employer could refuse delivery of the package, in which case it would likely be returned to the sender. But they would not be allowed to accept the package and then withhold it from the intended recipient. By my reading, that would be a federal crime, "obstruction of correspondence" under 18 USC 1702, punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

In the US, whether they gave the package to the employee or refused delivery, they could discipline or fire the employee for having it sent to the workplace, if they chose to do so. They could probably do this even if they didn't have a specific policy against it. Most US states have "at will employment", in which an employee can be fired at any time for any reason (barring unlawful discrimination and the like) or for no reason.

I don't know whether this would still apply if the package were sent by a private courier service such as UPS, FedEx, etc.


Taking the package and refusing to give it to the employee would be embezzlement. Someone could go to jail for this. On the other hand, the employee cannot force the company in any way to allow deliveries to the office.

But in the end, this is not a matter of law but a matter of relationship between employer and employees. It's a thing that is a minimal cost to the company and huge convenience to the employee. That's the kind of thing that makes a workplace much more valuable and allows the company to get better employees for the same money.

PS. Very roughly: Theft = you take my stuff from me. Fraud: You convince me through lies to give you my stuff. Embezzlement: You have my stuff in your hands legally, but refuse to give it to me.

  • Where would this be embezzlement and not e.g. theft? – user6726 Oct 13 '17 at 19:40
  • @user6726: "Theft" usually requires taking the property without permission. Here the employee presumably gave implicit permission for the employer to take possession of the package, in order to pass it on to the employee. If they were entrusted to do so and then kept the package instead, I agree that embezzlement would seem to apply. (I'm not sure whether it would apply if the employer had never agreed to do so.) – Nate Eldredge Oct 14 '17 at 2:17
  • @ser6726 Fair point. Many (probably most) states have abolished the embezzlement as a separate crime and rolled it into a broadly defined, unified theft statute. In addition to criminal liability, it would also constitute civil conversion (a tort) and could be the basis for a replevin action, although employees at will are often in a weak position to sue their employer (or charge the employer with a crime) if they want to keep their jobs. – ohwilleke Oct 14 '17 at 7:22

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