Is it Illegal to Make a Copy of My Office Keys Without Permission?
Having a set of office keys means you are given access to a building or office space and with that comes the responsibility of keeping the keys secure and not sharing them with unauthorized individuals. However, what happens if you need to make a copy of your office keys? Is it illegal to do so without permission?
Understanding the Law Related to Keys
The legal right to make a duplicate key is complex and varies from state to state. While there are no specific laws that prohibit copying keys without permission, it is possible to break the law while making a copy of keys belonging to the company or individual for which you work.
Employment Contracts: Know What You Agreed To
If you are employed, it is important to check your employment contract. Some companies provide specific guidance and regulations regarding the duplication of office keys. In most cases, companies prohibit employees from duplicating keys for security reasons and may have consequences if caught.
Responsibility and Liability
It is imperative to remember that when you duplicate office keys, you are breaking the trust and confidentiality of the company that gave you the keys, which can create serious liability concerns. By making a duplicate key without permission, the company can claim that you acted negligently or maliciously, which means you could face legal repercussions and be dismissed from your job.
Protecting Yourself and the Company
To comply with the law, it is always best to obtain the approval of the office administration and/or management before making duplicates of your office keys. In most cases, companies have specific policies on key cutting and will provide instructions on how to do so. Following the company’s guidelines will ensure that you are legally protected, which will protect the company’s interest as well.
While it may be tempting to make a copy of your office keys for convenience purposes, it is always best to err on the side of caution to avoid any legal ramifications. Before making a key copy, it is best to speak with your employer first or seek legal advice to ensure that you are not breaking any laws. Remember, if you are caught making a key copy without permission, you may be held liable for damages incurred by the company if a security breach happens.
A majority of keys that are under private ownership, like a key to a home or a vehicle, can be copied at your local hardware store or locksmith. However, keys for a variety of businesses, office buildings, and commercial operations oftentimes have the phrase ‘DO NOT COPY’ inscribed on the base of the keys themselves.
This serves as a warning to locksmiths that any unauthorized duplication of that particular key is unlawful and illegal. This is most likely the case in your question.
If the business is not yours, meaning that you do not have any ownership of any facet of the business or office itself, it is unlawful for you to make unauthorized copies of keys. Even if your office key does not have a ‘DO NOT COPY’ inscription, it is still unethical to do so. You are advised to speak with your employer and request an authorized duplication of the key.