Is it legal for your boss to seize your cell phone?

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Is it legal for your boss to seize your cell phone?

I work at a local restaurant and have recently been informed that the employees are required to place their cell phones in a lock box at the beginning of their shift. If we do not comply we must go home and get our cell phone or face termination. In addition, the cell phones must be left on as the employer will occasionally check phones to see if any messaging has been going on. I would appreciate any advice on the legality of the situation and inform me of any actions I may take against it.

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ok so let me understand one part of it that seems even more absurd than the rest of it: if you don't bring it to work then you have to go home and get it and leave it on so he can check it?  The red flag is up.  No, he can not read your cell phone texts and he can not force you to have him hold them.  He can request that you keep them in your locker and turned off. What he is asking in tantamount to an invasion of privacy.  It may also be borderline harassment.  I would seek help from an attorney in your area.  You can try and file a complaint with the Department of Labor although they may not be able to do anything.  They may be able to point you in the right direction, though.   Good luck.


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