Can a co-worker be fired for going through my desk and sending my payroll information to her husband via text?

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Can a co-worker be fired for going through my desk and sending my payroll information to her husband via text?

I left my office and one of my co-workers went through my desk to find my pay stub and tried to text my hours pay and sick time to her husband. Instead she sent the text directly to me. Is it legal for her to do this and can she be fired for it?

Asked on January 14, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

She can be fired for doing so; however, your employer is not required to fire her--it's their choice.

You do not necessarily have a privacy expectation in anything kept in your desk at work, since the desk belongs to the employer, not you, and the employer would have the right to go through it at will. The employer may be able to take other legal action against her; it is not clear that you could, unless you suffer some loss from the release of this information (e.g. it it used somehow to steal your identify)--if misuse causes you a loss, in that case, you may be able to take legal action.


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