As a teacher, can my school principal not allow me to get my personal belongings out of the classroom if I’m leaving the scool for another job?

My school principal is not allowing me to go into my classroom to pack my personal things. I am leaving the school for another placement due to her explosive behavior. I am scared of my principal because she has yelled, finger waved inches away from my face, has slammed her hand on table at me, and even hit the back of my chair telling me she didn’t like the way I sat.

Asked on April 24, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your employer--whether private company or city school, and whether your boss is a manager, a business owner, or a principal--has the right to not allow employees who are leaving employment to go back to their office, room, desk, etc. and pack up their belongings personally. The employer must send you all your belongings--they can't keep them or throw them away--and if they don't, you could sue them; but it is legal (and is actually fairly common in corporate America) to not let the departing employee pack up his/her things him/herself. (It may be because they want the employee offsite immediately, and to not speak to other employees or customers--e.g. students--any more; it may be because they want to make sure you are not taking anything not belonging to you.)

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