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Workplace Investigations and Employee Privacy

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Workplace Investigations

When a theft or threat occurs in the workplace, an employer seek t resolve the situation by perform an investigation. In so doing, the employer must also keep in mind that employees possess a right to privacy. Generally, the extent to which an employer can conduct a search will depend upon the seriousness and urgency of the problem at issue.

What Might be Acceptable Conduct in a Workplace Investigation?

Here are a  number of general considerations for properly performing a workplace investigation:

  • Only search for evidence related to a work-related problem and only perform the search in relevant areas.
  • Some places will always be off limits to a search. For example, bodily searches should never be conducted by the employer. Also, employee privacy should be respected in bathrooms and changing rooms.
  • An employer should never try to contain an employee against his or her will. Doing so might be considered false imprisonment.
  • Employers can avoid numerous complications by develop a search policy prior to the occurance of an issue requring a search.

What Should I Do if My Employer has Violated My Privacy Rights?

If your privacy rights have been violated by your employer, you should consult an attorney specializing in employment law. Your attorney will help you understand your rights and may be able to develop a case for damages against your employer.

Photo of page author Peter Clarke

, LegalMatch Content Manager

Last Modified: 09-23-2015 08:51 AM PDT

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