Employment Law

Employment law questions? Ask an employment lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I hope you can help me. I'm a federal employee who was

Customer Question
Hi -- I hope you...
Hi -- I hope you can help me. I'm a federal employee who was subjected to discipline after a nonsupervisory coworker went through my cubicle without my knowledge and found incriminating evidence. I was wondering whether there were any charges I could bring against the fellow employee for an unauthorized search -- or, in the alternative, whether I could pressure my employer to rescind the disciplinary action because it was the "fruit of a poisonous" (i.e., unauthorized) search? Your guidance is greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Employment Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Answered in 9 hours by:
6/26/2015
Employment Lawyer: Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law replied 2 years ago
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 21,668
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
Verified
Hello: This isCustomer I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.
Could you explain a little more?
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Thank you for your initial response. To elaborate, I have been subjected to disciplinary action because three co-workers (For whom I was competing for promotional opportunities) combed through file cabinets & other items in my cubicle and found some misplaced files; they then reported me to my supervisor. However, my concern is that, by going through my cubicle themselves (rather than allowing my supervisor to conduct his own investigation) my coworkers have violated my fourth-amendment rights as a federal employee. I have read the case O'Connor v. Ortega and some of its progeny and related legal commentary -- and I am hoping to build a case against my coworkers or, at the very least, challenge the disciplinary action proposed against me since it is predicated on what I consider to be an illicit search? Any guidance you could provide in this regard would be much appreciated. Thanks so very much.
Employment Lawyer: Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law replied 2 years ago
Thank you for the information. I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was offline when responded to my information request.
Your Question:
Thank you for your initial response. To elaborate, I have been subjected to disciplinary action because three co-workers (For whom I was competing for promotional opportunities) combed through file cabinets & other items in my cubicle and found some misplaced files; they then reported me to my supervisor. However, my concern is that, by going through my cubicle themselves (rather than allowing my supervisor to conduct his own investigation) my coworkers have violated my fourth-amendment rights as a federal employee.
Response 1: That is correct. Your rights to privacy was also violated since the files were not in an "open area" and thus expectation of privacy existed and proper protocols should have been followed because your cubicle was illegally searched.
I have read the case O'Connor v. Ortega and some of its progeny and related legal commentary -- and I am hoping to build a case against my coworkers or, at the very least, challenge the disciplinary action proposed against me since it is predicated on what I consider to be an illicit search? Any guidance you could provide in this regard would be much appreciated. Thanks so very much.
Response 2: Since these are government employees, the Fourth Amendment is implicated. You can certainly argue that the disciplinary action must be vacated because of this illegal search. However, since you are a member of a Union, the grievance procedures contained in your collective bargaining agreement must be followed.
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Was this answer helpful?
Ask Phillips Esq. Your Own Question
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 21,668
21,668 Satisfied Customers
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.

Phillips Esq. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care.

MildredWashington, DC

Excellent direction from Socrateaser to help me preserve and pursue my rights as a proud American who has become unemployed in this messed-up economic downfall. Thank you

Happy CustomerDenver, CO

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Tina

Tina

Lawyer

8,184 satisfied customers

JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.

Allen M., Esq.

Allen M., Esq.

Employment Lawyer

12,976 satisfied customers

Employment/Labor Law Litigation

Marsha411JD

Marsha411JD

Lawyer

12,406 satisfied customers

Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Lawyer

12,335 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

JB Umphrey

JB Umphrey

Lawyer

6,273 satisfied customers

Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.

John

John

Employment Lawyer

3,991 satisfied customers

Exclusively practice labor and employment law.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

3,007 satisfied customers

I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.

< Previous | Next >

Related Employment Law Questions
Just had a question. I've been employed at my workplace for
Just had a question. I've been employed at my workplace for 22yrs and i feel I was issued a Level 3 warning based one a 1 Sided story. They claim workplace violence. My record has no previous discipli… read more
LegalPro54
LegalPro54
Doctoral Degree
1,258 satisfied customers
I recently relocated from Arizona and hold a medical
I recently relocated from Arizona and hold a medical marijuana card. I have a drug test today in Michigan and will obviously fail. I have in depth medical records and prescriptions to show the validit… read more
KLAW
KLAW
Juris Doctorate
2,101 satisfied customers
Just had a consultation with an employee who received a
Hi, just had a consultation with an employee who received a final written warning - unauthorised absence (followed correct procedure), and we just found out that the employee was recording the session… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
12,335 satisfied customers
This is probably more of a privacy law question, but it
This is probably more of a privacy law question, but it developed out of an employment law question. Will I, as an employer, be at risk from a customer if we use surveillance video that includes their… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
12,335 satisfied customers
I live in the state of Michigan where I am a practice
I live in the state of Michigan where I am a practice manager. There were emailed allegations regarding myself, the company culture, and our HR business partner sent to management by an employee who q… read more
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq.
Employment Lawyer
Juris Doctor, Cum Laude
12,976 satisfied customers
How does disciplinary action work when I'm not doing the
How does disciplinary action work when I'm not doing the work that hasn't been in my PD I did without pay then OHR told me that they witnessed for an 11 but was destroyed. And I told them 1 1/2 that I… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
Is it illegal in Missouri under unions and St. Louis city
Is it illegal in Missouri under unions and St. Louis city laws, to have a group of fellow workers review and recommend disciplinary actions against another employee, those other members not being of m… read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney-at-Law
21,668 satisfied customers
I did have a question about Employee personal privacy, in
i did have a question about Employee personal privacy … read more
LegalPro54
LegalPro54
Doctoral Degree
1,258 satisfied customers
I am an rn for 25 years. With no disciplinary action. I was
I am an rn for 25 years. With no disciplinary action. I was sent for a 7 drug screen because my employer said my speech was slurred and my mouth was dry. I take blood pressure medicine and phentermine… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I have been given written disciplinary action for taking
I have been given written disciplinary action for taking sick time off. I am a part time employee in AZ so I do not qualify for FMLA, and I was given no alternatives before I was written up. What are … read more
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq
Doctoral Degree
17,837 satisfied customers
PRIVACY LAW QUESTION FOR CONFIRMATION: As I understand, an
PRIVACY LAW QUESTION FOR CONFIRMATION: As I understand, an employer in Wisconsin is not legally obliged to keep the presence of an employee living on their property or working for that employer -- a s… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
When an employee wishes to "invoke their right to privacy"
When an employee wishes to "invoke their right to privacy" and directs their employer to hide from others that this employee exists as their employee and/or may be found on the employer's property, wh… read more
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor
Doctoral Degree
7,808 satisfied customers
I was written up. Disciplinary action for excessive absences
I was written up. Disciplinary action for excessive absences that were under FMLa that they refused as being so because they said they didn't have proof which hadn't been passed from HR. I told them I… read more
LegalPro54
LegalPro54
Doctoral Degree
1,258 satisfied customers
Do employees have legal rights to privacy of their personal
Do employees have legal rights to privacy of their personal health information? … read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney-at-Law
21,668 satisfied customers
Are Corporate payroll records protected by privacy
Are Corporate payroll records protected by privacy regulations? That is, if I were to demand payroll details of a separate Corporation considered to be a joint employer who provided staffing services … read more
Ely
Ely
Counselor at Law
Juris Doctor
266 satisfied customers
Well, My company threatened to take disciplinary action and
Well, My company threatened to take disciplinary action and terminate my employment by performing my job. I'm a safety professional by career and represent a client for safety. The threat came based o… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
12,335 satisfied customers
I have a Disciplinary Action Notice Action Notice Grievance
I have a Disciplinary Action Notice Action Notice Grievance letter needing proof reading, corrective spelling if needed, punctuation correction … read more
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL
Attorney
Juris Doctorate
5 satisfied customers
I am facing probable disciplinary action if not termination
I am facing probable disciplinary action if not termination because I reported a coworker who was disrespectful ,like yelling,at me or embarrassing me.I need a legal representation to help me with thi… read more
Ely
Ely
Counselor at Law
Juris Doctor
266 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x