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Can we search employees? We suspect theft

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. We have noticed some of our inventory is missing, and we believe it might be leaving our facility via our employees. Can we search them and their belongings?

Searching employees against their will is not a good idea. It could expose an employer to tort claims of assault, battery, false imprisonment and others. Such a practice would also likely create an atmosphere of poor morale and distrust in management.

Instead, develop a policy based on probable cause for a search. Communicate the policy to employees and the reason for it. Require employees to consent to a search under defined and reasonable circumstances. Stipulate that a failure to consent to the search, under the appropriate circumstances, will constitute a resignation.

Then, the search is either conducted with employee consent, or the employee resigns by refusing to consent.

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