What is the ruling on the right of an employee to use his work equipment for private purposes?

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from Qatar, in:
Religious Authority: 
Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
What is the ruling on the right of an employee to use his work equipment for private purposes?

The basic principle in regards with public funds, i.e. that of government or private establishments, is that they are not to be infringed upon, particularly that the Quran and authentic hadiths emphasized the severe punishment awaiting those who indulge into such funds without due right. Indeed, scholars considered these funds similar in status to the money of an orphan, and is thus to be maintained and preserved and not to be touched. However, the exception in this case is that which has become customary practice widely acknowledged and accepted by society, as this implies that there is an implicit and underlying permission. In any case, one must not use this permission extensively, as the basic principle aforementioned stands and remains valid. In addition, a Muslim, who seeks perfection in his religion, ought to refrain from such practices in accordance with the hadith: "and whoever remains away from controversial matters, has indeed perfected his religion and reputation."