Is it legal for my employer to search my desk on my day off?

UPDATED: Oct 7, 2011

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Is it legal for my employer to search my desk on my day off?

On my day off a marijuana roach was found in my desk. Upon returning to work the next day I was called into the HR department and sent for drug screening. I tested positive for marijuana.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The fact of the matter is that a person has fewer privacy rights at work than they do in their personal life. Employers can usually search an employee's workspace, which includes the inside of their desk. This is because technically the workspace belongs to the employer so courts have found that employees do not have an expectation of privacy in these areas. That having been said, some states may have laws concerning searches at work and union/employment agreements may have included terms about such searches. According, an employee should always check on the laws in their state and the terms of any contracts that they may have.

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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