Flight credits (former employer)

Old Oct 20, 20, 10:45 am
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Flight credits (former employer)

Traveled (contract work) weekly pre covid. Had about $1,500 in AA flights booked before Covid caused the work to be canceled and the travel waivers allowed my employer to cancel the trips and now those credits show in my travel wallet. I no longer work for the company (just cut off my insurance without telling me) but the credits are there.

Thoughts (ethical?) on using those credits for my personal travel. Do I owe my former employer anything. (all things considered, they handled covid about as awful as you could from an HR perspective).
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Old Oct 20, 20, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by rivlinm View Post
Traveled (contract work) weekly pre covid. Had about $1,500 in AA flights booked before Covid caused the work to be canceled and the travel waivers allowed my employer to cancel the trips and now those credits show in my travel wallet. I no longer work for the company (just cut off my insurance without telling me) but the credits are there.

Thoughts (ethical?) on using those credits for my personal travel. Do I owe my former employer anything. (all things considered, they handled covid about as awful as you could from an HR perspective).
If your employer reimbursed you for those trips, the right thing to do is contact your former boss or HR who finalized your departure and let them know the credits are there. See what your former employer wants to do with them. I can't imagine they'd just tell you "just keep them" but if they feel that way, I'd want something in writing saying you're in the clear to use them for personal travel. Your opinion of how your company handled a situation that literally nobody on earth has ever encountered before and is still affecting the whole planet isn't in my opinion an excuse to use for yourself the $1500 in credit that belongs to the company.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 11:37 am
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We've had this issue with former employees. We've just told employees that have asked that the credits are in their name. There's nothing the company can do with them, and we don't press the issue, especially for someone laid off or let go for cause.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by LovePrunes View Post
If your employer reimbursed you for those trips, the right thing to do is contact your former boss or HR who finalized your departure and let them know the credits are there. See what your former employer wants to do with them. I can't imagine they'd just tell you "just keep them" but if they feel that way, I'd want something in writing saying you're in the clear to use them for personal travel. Your opinion of how your company handled a situation that literally nobody on earth has ever encountered before and is still affecting the whole planet isn't in my opinion an excuse to use for yourself the $1500 in credit that belongs to the company.
Normally I'd agree I shouldn't rush to judgement re covid decisions, but I was NEVER even informed I no longer work for them. They just ended my insurance and with zero contact, not even a cobra email. I am a contract worker, so they aren't exactly my employer, but paid my rate and for some reason health insurance. Even IF they asked me to work for them again, there is no way this industry will exist before the credits expire next summer.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by rivlinm View Post
Normally I'd agree I shouldn't rush to judgement re covid decisions, but I was NEVER even informed I no longer work for them. They just ended my insurance and with zero contact, not even a cobra email. I am a contract worker, so they aren't exactly my employer, but paid my rate and for some reason health insurance. Even IF they asked me to work for them again, there is no way this industry will exist before the credits expire next summer.
I firmly believe in acting in good faith, so if someone acts in bad faith, then they've broken the key covenant of operation. At that point, they can go pound sand.

That said, the less detail you post, the better.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 12:13 pm
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The credits are in your name. There is nothing the company can do with them. Based on their behavior in simply canceling insurance, etc I would just use the credit it it was me. My current situation is a bit different. i am reasonable sure I will not travel for work before Dec 31 of next year, when the credits expire. I know I can book at flight and the balance of the flight credit will turn into an evoucher which could be used by anyone. Unfortunately I am not going to use my job over this, though do have a recommendation for companies........ Let employees use up to a certain percentage of the credit, then your company can use the remaining voucher as e vouchers can be used by anyone
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Old Oct 20, 20, 12:30 pm
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I would not be able to feel good about just using them. A very quick and very short email to the former manager, travel dept, and/or HR contact saying you have credits from a cancelled trip, what should you do with them and leave it at that for them to answer.

They've likely written them off already, or will not care, but agree that it's better to have them say it vs. just using them.

If they want them back, they should own working with AA to do so since it is their credit from their travel (and you won't be able to get cash from AA to reimburse the former employer). They should not be able to request any payment directly from you.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 2:37 pm
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If the employer can't do anything with the credit and the OP can I see no reason why the OP can't use them. Regardless of how the employer handled the separation. It was the company that cancelled the trip, knew the name couldn't be changed and then let the OP go.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 3:16 pm
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Presumably the OP was reimbursed for the tickets at which point they are his employers property. Large companies do have people that track this stuff.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 3:23 pm
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Legally, who do the credits belong to? Even if the credits legally belong to OP, does the employer have a valid legal claim (restitution? unjust enrichment?) against OP for $1500 (or some lesser amount representing the FMV of a $1500 travel credit)?

From reading this thread, seems like the credits legally belong to OP if they're in his name. But you could make the case that the employer might have some sort of a plausible legal claim against OP for reimbursement. Very small chance they'd ever do anything about it given the small amount involved.

Ethically, IMHO, OP is totally in the right to use them and tell the employer to buzz off if they seek reimbursement.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by DataPlumber View Post
Presumably the OP was reimbursed for the tickets at which point they are his employers property. Large companies do have people that track this stuff.
That's assuming the OP was in fact reimbursed. If the OP never took the trip(s) then there might not have been an expense report. Possibly the employer paid for a flight in the OP's name, cancelled the trip, and subsequently let the OP go and since that credit can't be used for anyone else ate the $1.5K.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 3:49 pm
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Lots of vendor/ consultancy/ contract labor workers travel by plane. It's much more common than it used to be. Many of these "employers" have 1099 relationships with the worker, and require the worker to use certain tools, including travel booking tools in the cloud.

It's quite possible that the OP booked his travel on the vendor's system, the vendor paid in advance (because it's cheaper to buy air tickets in advance), and the tickets are issued in the worker's personal name. Assuming these are nonrefundable tickets, the airline's contract with the purchaser states that the tickets have zero value after travel date. BUT, as a courtesy in this COVID crisis, the airlines have offered some value (exchangeability, vouchers, etc.) directly to the traveler. The airline is extending some value to the end customer, not to the purchaser.

If I were OP, I would inform the vendor via snail mail that the airline has extended the traveler some credit for these zero value tickets, and that he intends to use that credit. Just for information, don't offer anything.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 6:14 pm
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Use the credits for job hunting to make up for the sudden loss of insurance
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Old Oct 20, 20, 6:52 pm
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If the tickets were paid for by the "employer" and OP chooses to use their value for his own personal use, the value of those credits is income. May still be a good deal, but OP will need to report that value.

Lots of phantom income created by broad-based layoffs and contract terminations due to the pandemic.

None of this has to do with how the other party treated OP.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 7:04 pm
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Legally, it depends on your contract with the company, which may or may not have contained terms for handling this situation.

Practically, I would just use the credits and not ask them about it.
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