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Are random searches at work legal?

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posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:07 PM
So I went into work today and found out one of my co-workers was stealing clothing and got caught and fired by the store's loss prevention manager... along with this there was a new sign posted in the break room reading:

"Please be advised that ***(Store name here) Will be doing random bag and purse checks on all associates as they leave the store.

This will be done by a manager on different hours and days.

Don't be offended if you are asked to open your purse/bag and show a receipt for all merchandise you may have with you as we are asking everyone to do so.

Thanks, Management."

I don't know about you, but something smells fishy to me. For one... I thought that even for even police officers a search is violating your rights if its not under probable cause. If they have no video evidence or no one has seen me take anything, can they legally search me?

I just feel like time is getting short and knowing I have not committed any crimes against my work place, I don't want to have to give up my rights for the satisfaction of someone else's dumb suspicions.

Mind you, I never signed any piece of paper agreeing to this. I have to search for my employee manual and read the fine print to make sure they didn't sneak anything in there... but I'm assuming they did not because I'm pretty sure I would remember seeing it when I read through the manual the day I got it. (I pay attention to things like this)

Thank you for your replies and I hope to god I'm right about not having to submit to a random search.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:17 PM
Most states have an "At Will" employment policy...

sadly this means they can make those searches a condition of your employment...

The only recourse you could have is if you suspect the searches are not random, and they profiling, or searching the same people over and over again.

even this is tough to fight and keep your job, as at will employment means either you, or your employer can terminate your employment at will...

If you are union, or under contract, you may have a recourse available to you, but I'd check with a lawyer or union representative.

edit: I failed to mention that the search can only be conducted on bags and purses that you have in your possession. If they try to search your person, you will have lawyers banging down your door dying to represent you.

[edit on 30-10-2008 by nj2day]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:32 PM
So legally they are not allowed to search my being if I am not carrying a bag then? because I usually keep all of my things in my pockets (cell phone, keys, wallet, whatever else may be needed).

also thanks for your answer. I kind of figured that I wasn't going to be able to tell them no when they try to search my bags. I actually just read something on a site that said unless its a police officer or government official conducting the search, My 4th amendment rights do not apply. ugh... this blows haha.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:37 PM
Look at copies of papers you signed when you signed up to work there. But, if this is a new stipulation, nothing regarding this may be there. My advice would be to go along with their rules, as, if you have nothing to hide, what do you have to loose? Sure, though, if you love the Constitution so much that you are willing to be fired for that love go right ahead! I see the importance of this topic, however.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:37 PM
Well, I would think they are not allowed to search your person... or you could have the right to refuse if they want to "pat you down"

as far as pockets, they will prabably ask you to remove the items so they an see them...

they should never, ever physically touch you, or reach into your pockets... At least without your consent anyway...

If they do ask to touch you for a pat down, or check ur pockets, and its a person of the opposite sex.. (or these days, depending on sexual orientation...) you automatically have a lawsuit...

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 11:00 PM
There is nothing "Illegal" about a "Private" business asking that you submit to a search..

They are not forcing you.

If you refuse, they can simply ask you to not return, at least not as an employee.

A request to search in no way violates any section of the 4th Amendment, as you giving permission negates the "Unreasonable" stipulation.

If they restrain you, that is a whole other issue and I will assume they will not do this.

No laws broken here that I am familiar with..


posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 11:05 PM
A lot depends on your location.

Here's one answer, but this is from Australia. Laws will be different in other countries.

Employers may have the right to conduct searches of their employees' bags in order to protect company property from theft. This right may, depending on the relevant circumstances, be subject to consultation with unions and employees on what is an appropriate and reasonable process and the protocol for the conducting of searches.

I've done some research of US sites - mostly excerpts from or partial reviews of books - and it appears that items such as a closed handbag or backpack are covered under reasonable expectation of privacy (4th amendment) and random searches of such items may not be upheld as legal in court. However, in many places if you refuse to submit to the searches they can fire you .. so .. how important is it to you?

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 11:05 PM
reply to post by nj2day

Well I'm glad that when it comes to my own physical being... at least I hold some rights to a store security guard. I really appreciate you taking time to respond to my questions... your responses have been very helpful.

As for the other guy who asked what I had to lose... I'm very uncomfortable with the knowledge that someone with little or no authority over me can tell me that I need to do something, or I will face consequences when I have not committed any crime whatsoever. Sure I can allow them to search me and allow it to be over with... but it just seems a little silly that I should have to show my personal belongings to someone just because they want to know what I have and not a reason more.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 11:12 PM
reply to post by Heike

Thanks. Its not really that important that I would be willing to lose my job over it... I just felt strangely uncomfortable when I read the note they posted. but it looks like it doesn't really matter.

Besides now that I think about it, the note was probably put up as a warning to people who might be thinking about stealing like that girl was.

and thanks for your response Semper.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 12:06 AM
"Knowing that time is getting short"...

You come across a sa guy who has got away with his thefts over the years, this girl getting caught has sent you into panic and defence mode, your worried you have gotten so damn accustomed to stealing, you do not even notice when you do it...

I could be wrong though, but why else would you be so worried. If you just wanted to know if your constitutional rights are being infringed, you would have worded it more like a question not an objection.

You seem also to have clamed down once you dicovered they cannot search you immediate person, maybe you hide your swag down a shirt, trouser leg, back of your jeans etc? So hearing this you realised you have nothing to worry about?

posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 02:39 PM
I used to work on construction sites,every so often the green INS vehicles would appear out of nowhere,so in that case I'd say yes

posted on Nov, 2 2008 @ 09:27 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Nov, 2 2008 @ 09:44 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Nov, 2 2008 @ 09:46 PM
If it is part of your job description to search sites on the internet, it's legal. This would be legal if you are checking out the competition(checking them out, NOT hacking them) to keep abreast of what they are doing.

posted on Nov, 2 2008 @ 10:07 PM
Wow thanks for this and the above it post, just shows how hostile [SNIP] you are yourself. I never accused you, I implied you maybe have something to hide, if in fact you did not, all you had to say was you resent my implication and there is no truth to it!

Instead I get a nice bit of abuse and attack on my character. Yes I am paranoid (who is not on here?) and yes I may jump to conclusions, but if your posting on a public board, I have as much right to air my opinion as you do to air your greivance!

On the original post topic, not only is this type of search permissable in the US, but we also have it here in the UK, only difference being, we see the need for a deterance to theft, we do not turn it into some pathetic cry about our rights being infringed on. Afterall if you have nothing to hide, why bother making a fuss over a rule which benefits the company who in turn benefits you with your job! Stop being so ungreatful, you should feel privilaged you have a job, there are so many in your country who have nothing thanks to the credit crisis, pissing and moaning about something that only negatively affects the criminal is not productive.

Hey I know, if you protest enough they may recind this new policy, then in a year or so, when the company lose a few thousand from thieving employees, they can lay off the people making all the fuss to offset the loss? Oh wait then there would be a new bitch and moan post in here, on second though please do not protest


MOD NOTE: Edited out an insult. Please remember to attack the topic, and not the member. Thanks for your cooperation.

Forum Member and Moderator

[edit on 4-11-2008 by TheBorg]

posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 03:27 PM
post removed for serious violation of ATS Terms & Conditions

posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 03:54 PM
post removed because the user has no concept of manners

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posted on Nov, 3 2008 @ 10:21 PM
So like I had said before my post was deleted.

Thank you everyone who has contributed to my answer. Except the response by Saf85 all of the answers were very helpful and I am very appreciative for all of the answers you've all given me.

This thread can now be closed.

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