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Searched briefcase upon termination New York

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  • Searched briefcase upon termination New York

    Human Resources searched my briefcase after I was terminated. Is this legal? Did I have to allow them to search for Company files? They took disaster recovery card with names and phone numbers of employees. Thanks

  • #2
    Originally posted by girato View Post
    Human Resources searched my briefcase after I was terminated. Is this legal? Did I have to allow them to search for Company files? They took disaster recovery card with names and phone numbers of employees. Thanks
    Yes, it is legal.
    Please no private messages about your situation.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree - it's legal. I don't see anything illegal with them taking the disaster recovery card with names & phone numbers of employees since you are no longer working there (why would you need it) & they certainly can search for co. files.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        Well, where I worked there were a couple of employees in each division that were assigned the job of preparing for a possible disaster at our co. (ie if the co. burned down, tornado hit it). They had to keep info off site (usually at their home) - backup of computer info, work manuals, etc. & they had a "card" so to speak with all the employees names & phone #'s so they could be contacted & told what to do if a disaster happened while they were not at work. (If one happened, I would have preferred not to have been at work ) I think OP is talking about something like that - info he kept in case of a disaster so employees could be contacted & informed & told what to do.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

        Comment


        • #5
          Definitely agree.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment


          • #6
            law defining this as legal?

            Could one of you please post a source for your explanation that this is legal? Also, since the OP had been termed anyway, what would have been the consequences of refusing to allow the search?

            Comment


            • #7
              Employers have the right to search employees entering or leaving the premises to look for contraband (usually entering) or stolen property (usually leaving).

              The employers can even search cars parked in a company parking lot (but not one parked off the employer's property).

              See ACLU briefing paper (http://www.lectlaw.com/files/emp08.htm).
              Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

              Comment


              • #8
                joec

                I certainly agree with you that returning company property following a termination is the right and advisable thing to do. However, what legally gives the company the right to search a person's belongings? While I understand that they can do so based on "let us search your belongings or we will fire you,” what is the legal justification for this other than "employment at-will"? And in this situation, the OP had already been terminated, what could they have done if he/she had said "no"?
                Last edited by MilCivHR; 10-15-2007, 09:45 AM. Reason: clarification

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                • #9
                  ScottB,

                  Posted the same time you did. Thanks for the link, I will review it immediately.

                  On just a quick perusal, there doesn't seem to be anything there regarding the second half of my question. What consequences could the OP have faced for refusing the search? They had already been terminated.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MilCivHR View Post
                    What consequences could the OP have faced for refusing the search? They had already been terminated.
                    If the company had probable cause to believe that property WAS being taken, they could use non-deadly force to detain and search the ex-employee (at least in my state and many others).

                    That is a legal minefield, even when probable cause exists. Huge risk of lawsuit should no company property be found on the person.
                    Last edited by ScottB; 10-15-2007, 09:58 AM.
                    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MilCivHR View Post
                      Could one of you please post a source for your explanation that this is legal? Also, since the OP had been termed anyway, what would have been the consequences of refusing to allow the search?
                      We cannot. Generally, laws tell you what you CANNOT do, not what you CAN do. Since there is no law that states that it is illegal, it is legal.
                      Please no private messages about your situation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So if a company did forcibly detain someone, isn't that battery? I know you just said that that would be a legal minefield but I am racking my brain to come up with a scenario where this wouldn't be battery whether they had probable cause or not.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MilCivHR View Post
                          So if a company did forcibly detain someone, isn't that battery? I know you just said that that would be a legal minefield but I am racking my brain to come up with a scenario where this wouldn't be battery whether they had probable cause or not.
                          No, it is not battery.
                          Please no private messages about your situation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MilCivHR View Post
                            I am racking my brain to come up with a scenario where this wouldn't be battery whether they had probable cause or not.
                            From the Maine Statutes:

                            Use of force in property offenses: A person is justified in using a reasonable degree of nondeadly force upon another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what is or reasonably appears to be an unlawful taking of his property, or criminal mischief, or to retake his property immediately following its taking.

                            Without such provisions, store loss prevention officers could not get away with detaining and searching shoplifters.
                            Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

                            Comment

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