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N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Since 1983
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I live in california. My employer also provides my housing

Customer Question

I live in california. My employer also provides my housing which is a unit I rent. Which is also in their property They are now claiming that they can search my private property, I.E. vehicle, briefcases, safes, dressers and such in my dwelling. The catch is they say if I fail a drug test. Say at work I fail a random drug or alcohol test. That is gives them probable cause to search threw my belonging and or invite law officers due to probable cause that I may have such drugs in my unit. Seems to me this is a violation of my civil liberties and unjust search and seizure perhaps the 4th amendment?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 years ago.
May I ask what is the nature of your work and why the employer claims the right to perform such tests?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am a waiter. I live in Death Valley Natl. Park, The land and my housing is private not federal owned land.
My employer is claiming its a tool they can use once a employee has failed a onsite drug test. BTW I dont use drugs but I also think this is illegal. As for the rights to test. This is now a new thing for all new hires. They are using onsite testing for anyone hurt at work that needs medical services. I.E falling at work, cutting ones self on a glass or should a Mgr. feel your drunk or on drugs while on the clock.

Thanks,
Kevin
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 years ago.
Semore v. Pool(1990) 217 Cal.App.3d 1087 posted at
http://login.findlaw.com/scripts/callaw?dest=ca/calapp3d/217/1087.html
starts:
In this case, we find that the right of privacy in the California Constitution protects Californians from actions of private employers as well as government agencies.

Accordingly, when a private employee is terminated for refusing to take a random drug test, he may invoke the public policy exception to the at-will termination doctrine to assert a violation of his constitutional right of privacy.

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Pamphlets/Employee.aspx#2
states:
2. Can an employer ask me to take a drug test?
Yes, if you are a job applicant. On the other hand, if you are already an employee, your employer usually must have some legitimate or important interest in requiring drug testing, such as a reasonable suspicion that you are using drugs. If your job involves certain safety issues, such as a job driving a passenger bus, your employer has greater rights to drug test you, even without giving you advance notice.

The landlord/employer has no right to search your belongings or enter your unit without consent. If the landlord has a reason to enter the unit, you are entitled to 24 hours advance notice, see
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/chart-notice-requirements-enter-rental-29033.html

Looking through your property and entering your home are not legal even if the employer has probable cause. Probable cause alone in general does not let a police officer enter your home or search your property without a warrant. And it does not allow a landlord to do so either.

You can get a free consultation from some of the employment attorneys listed by location at
http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practicestatecounty/Employment-Law----Employee/California/Inyo

Please follow up on this with a local attorney. My opinion is that the employer has violated your right to privacy.

I hope this information is helpful.

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