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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118271
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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My son works for Century 21 Insurance. He is licensed in many

Customer Question

My son works for Century 21 Insurance. He is licensed in many states and takes calls dealing with changes, questions, abour consumer's auto policies. The company decided to close the facility and is doing everything they can to make the environment impossible to work in. They are hoping that people will quit, and are also looking for reasons to fire employees. My son has been having problems since his old Supervisor was relocated to another facility, prior to that he was a valued employee with recognition for his acheivements. The harassment is coming on a daily basis, he has spoken to Human Resources and no one seems to care. They have given him a few warnings on after calls, saying he was taking too much time with them. He has asked and received numerous responses as to a reasonable amount of time, no one will stand behind their numbers and there is no mention of this in any company policy. During this period they have taken down the rack, it gave information state by state, as to what the policies concerning auto insurance are. He has also had problems with his computer and that has finally been resolved. His Supervisor has actually sat with him, and continues to watch him and tells my son he is being watched. Each employee has their own desk and can lock it upon leaving. My son is having problems with his lock and told his manager. One of his co-workers told my son the Supervisor went into his desk without my son's consent and took something from his desk. The co-worker has no problem with my son sharing this information. My son was told by Human Resources that a Supervisor can go into their desk, their personal belongings and take something out. My son is documenting all that has happened, and wrote an e-mail to HR reiterating what he was told, they have not responded to the e-mail. Can they go through his personal belongings and take something from his desk without his knowledge? Can they fire him for time on after calls, considering the time is due to them removing information he needs access to? If so, will he be able to collect unemployment? We live in New York State.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Under NY law, employment is considered to be at will, which means that the employer can terminate him for no reason at all or for any reason not solely based on your son's age/race/sex/disability.

Unfortunately, anything on the employer's property or premises can be searched and there is no expectation of privacy on the employer's premises. They cannot steal his personal property, that is still considered theft, but they can search an employee's desk or locker or bags even without the employee's consent.

They can fire him for any reason as I said above, but if he proves that the reason they have fired him was based on something the employer caused to occur, then this would mean they would not have good cause to terminate him and as such he would be eligible for unemployment benefits.

If the employer was not providing proper meal breaks as required then this is something to pursue as he is through the labor board in addition to pursuing his unemployment benefits.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, excellent help, as usual!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you very much.