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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39027
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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may an employer go through your personal belongings w/o your

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may an employer go through your personal belongings w/o your consent or presence
There is no statutory law making this type of search illegal, unless the employer is a government agency (city, county, state, federal).

However, there is something called a common-law "invasion of privacy" claim, which can make an employer liable for damages caused by intruding into your seclusion in an outrageous manner. Your facts describe something that could rise to an invasion of privacy.

So, if the search were to result in your being terminated/fired, then you could sue for wrongful termination, based upon the damage caused by what the employer discovered.

However, if the search were to reveal unlawful activity on your part, then that probably would avoid liability for the employer, because you would have created the circumstances that actually caused your termination from employment.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
socrateaser - the search did result in my termination after they had first tried to get me for drinking at work (unsuccessfully) then wanted to accuse me of theft(unsuccesssfully). but, they can just go through your backpack,car,or purse w/o your presence or permission?
You have expanded the question considerably. Originally, you described "personal belongings" as the limit of the search. Now we're talking about your car.

In theory, you could call the police and have whomever actually conducted the search arrested for criminal mischief or vehicle tampering. But, it's a close call, unless the person actually tries to open the trunk or your glove compartment, or move the vehicle -- or takes something from your purse, etc.

Without a clear removal of your possessions or movement of your vehicle, it could be difficult to get the police to arrest. Which leaves you back with the a civil action, such as invasion of privacy, or interference with personal property.

Criminal statutes are very narrowly interpreted. I don't see a particular criminal statute that satisfies your facts. There may be one, and I'm just missing it. You can always call the police and explain what happened and see if they are willing to investigate further.

But, I have a hunch that the only way you can get anywhere here is to sue the employer.

For an employment rights lawyer referral, see this link.

Hope this helps.

NOTICE: My goal here is to entertain while educating the public about the law. I hope my answer is useful and informative to you. During our conversation, the website may ask you to rate my answer. If you rate my answer lower than the middle rating, then the website retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing. It is entirely your choice as to how you rate my answer. However, because your payment to me is in the nature of a donation/gift, rather than as compensation for any services rendered, you are entitled to know how your rating affects the final distribution of your donation.

If you need to contact me again, please put my user id at the beginning of your question ("To Socrateaser"), and the system will send me an alert. Please Click the following link for IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION. Thanks and best wishes!

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