Workplace Searches Law and Legal Definition
Employees' privacy rights in workplace searches, depend upon whether their employer is a public entity or a private employer. A public employee is afforded greater protection against workplace searches under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which provides that persons have the right to be secure in their "persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures."
However, a private workplace search may violate the employee's constitutional right of privacy and apply to both public and private employers. Employees may have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the workplace, such as in the contents of their desks. Because of the written policies of some employers stating that the employees do not have privacy interest in the contents of their desks, or in some circumstances, their computers, an employer may be allowed to randomly search company property used by an employee.
Without a clearly established policy or voluntary consent of the employee, employers may not conduct general searches of the employee's property or the employee's body, even if the employer suspects the employee has violated a crime, stolen company property, or has cause to believe the employee possesses illegal drugs.