Does the bank that I work for have the right to look through my personal accounts?

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Does the bank that I work for have the right to look through my personal accounts?

A while back our area manager took me in the office; he had all of my bank account statements. He asked me about a couple deposits into not only my account but my son’s savings account as well. They were cash deposits which were from the sale of 3 puppies. He was questioning me as if I had stolen the money from the bank. It was brought to my attention yesterday by my office manager that the area manager had called her asking her about 2 withdrawls that I have made. Is it legal for my employer to look through my account?

Asked on March 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Privacy rights are not what they used to be and in private employment, you have less privacy rights than usual. In a banking situation, wherein you work for a bank and both you and your son have bank accounts with the bank, a couple of legal issues come to mind. First, if the deposits look suspicious (and are automatically considered suspicious if a certain amount), then the bank may report it automatically as a suspicious activity report. The person about who it concerns is not to be made aware the suspicious activity report exists. Another way it comes up is if you are let's say a teller and immediately after a transaction by a customer, your account or your son's account shows an increase in deposit. Now, as to employees, compliance employees are probably within the confines of the law to look at your account. As to your son, the bank probably breached privacy rights by not only asking you about the account but looking into it in the first place. If your son is a minor, it might be a different story. Talk to your state's department of labor and also consider speaking with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a private labor lawyer who has experience with banking employment law. It is enough of a serious issue that you want to ensure your rights are protected and your son's rights are protected without endangering your privacy rights, your job security or his privacy rights. Further, banking regulators may find this an issue, as well, though it might be relegated to simply a labor matter.


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