Can an employer search my phone just to find out whose phone it is?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer search my phone just to find out whose phone it is?

I left my phone inside of the break room. My boss found the

phone sitting on the table. We had.a meeting a hour later about work related things. He brought out my

phone and showed it to everyone asking whose phone it was. Then.someone yelled out to check the screen saver to see. He clicked the button and he said,

Asked on April 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Generally, an employer may not search your private phone, but they can do anything they want with a company supplied or paid for phone: a company phone may be used by an employee but it is the *company's* phone and they have rights to it.
If it was your private phone, then this was improper, but unless you suffer some actual loss or damage--other than wholly justifiable outrage--there is nothing legally to do. The law only provides remedies for "injuries," such as economic losses, defamation, etc.; there's effectively no compensation for someone one-time looking at your phone if nothing really came of that.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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