I have a friend. She was fired because she did not get a doctor’s signed note concerning her illness by a certain date. She was a very productive employee; she won an award for bringing in business. She had only been there since May. Well, someone went through her desk, removing copies of papers she had signed and the company handbook. Do you think she has a leg to stand on concerning them removing those papers from her desk?
— A Friend
Dear “A Friend”:
If she does not have a leg to stand on, she can purchase one at most reputable medical supply stores. I would not be surprised if prosthetic legs are available on Amazon Prime with free delivery. Of course, the downside is that she might need a doctor’s note to get the correct leg and doctors’ notes are apparently a challenge for her.
— Evil Skippy
Privacy laws vary from place to place, but generally (in the U.S.) employers can search employee desks unless the employer has somehow created an “expectation of privacy” leading employees to reasonably believe that their desks are private. I would need a lot more information to venture even a guess as to whether your friend had any privacy rights in her work situation. Most likely, she had no privacy rights because most employers inform all workers, usually in employee handbooks or other policies, that desks are the employer’s property and always subject to a search. The only way for your friend to know for certain is by reviewing the pertinent facts with a legal guru of her choosing. (If your friend were my friend, I would tell her to move on and get over it unless she was actually harmed by the desk invasion. By “actually harmed”, I do not include merely being ticked off or offended.)
My advice to your friend – if you consider something to be private, don’t leave it in a desk at work. Ever.
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