- Category: INTRODUCTION TO THE NOAHIDE LAWS
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A person who works for another is obligated to work hard and make sure that the person who is purchasing their services is getting the work they paid for. An employee is obligated to always be working and to leave personal issues for after work. If there is an expectation that the person is working then that person must work; otherwise they are stealing money from their employer. Using the internet and using printers to print things for personal use is considered theft unless it is part of the employment agreement; which should spell out all rights of the employee to use the employer's property, time, etc., if that is intended. The employee is stealing the paper, toner, time (that they should be working) and electricity it costs to print things from the internet or computer. If it is necessary for the employee to use these objects for personal use an arrangement should be made with their employer, otherwise such activity is forbidden.
An employer is obligated to pay their employees in a timely fashion. Otherwise they are stealing the wages from their employee. This includes reimbursing the employee for expenses (if that is in agreement with the terms of service).
Property from Work
It may seem trivial but taking the property of an employer or company someone works for is theft; pens, notebooks, staplers, or anything else belonging to the company. The use of these items is assumed to be for the purpose of work. Even the theft of a single staple is unacceptable as there are no minimum amounts for Noachides, however, that does not mean that Jews may take minimal amounts, but that a court will not handle a claim for the return of a single staple, unless it has a certain value, which is unlikely. Theft in any amount is theft. If not punished in the earthly court, because there is no witness or no court willing to handle the case; it will be punished by the heavenly court.
It is an obligation for every person to return a lost article to his friend if he is able. People loose things all the time, money, wallets, cell phones and so forth. A just society is one that has respect for the property of others. It is also important that for us to return something lost by another we demonstrate our respect for the rights of that individual and thus emphasize and strengthen our own rights to property.
Which items must we return?
Clearly an item that has the person’s name or symbol on it ought to be returned to its owner. It does not matter if the person is rich or poor or if the amount or object lost is small or great. It must be returned.
If money is found then it is also obligatory to get the money to the person who lost it. This is more difficult because there is not any label or sign that tells us who it belongs to. However, people are always mindful of their money and the knowledge of the missing amount is itself a sign of ownership. In the case of lost money, the owner may be identified by their knowledge of how much was lost or other signs.
When does lost property become ownerless?
A lost object is returnable only so long as the owner of the property has not given up on recovering the object. If for example he states that he will never recover the item then the object is considered ownerless.
An object may also become ownerless if it were lost at sea, in a lake or river, since it is unlikely that the object will ever be recovered. The circumstance of the loss of the object automatically classifies it as ownerless.