Searches and Inspections of the Employee and Employee Personal Property Policy
Author: Jason Habinsky, Haynes & Boone
When to Use
Due to safety concerns, disappearances of employee property and personal belongings, and law enforcement issues, employers may be required, in certain instances, to search employee personal property. To avoid employee claims that their privacy rights were violated and they had no notice of the employer's right to conduct a legitimate search, it is best practice for employers to develop a policy on searches and inspections that will be distributed to employees upon beginning employment and placed in the employee handbook. This policy will help manage employee expectations and will put employees on notice that there may be a need for a search.
Employees should be required to sign and acknowledge that they have read and understand the policy and consent to its terms. This policy should be signed separately to ensure that the employee or new hire recognizes what the policy encompasses, and then it should be placed in the employee's personnel file. The employer may also want to explain the policy during orientation for new employees so that all employees understand its scope and intended purpose. Signing this policy should be a condition of employment.