Email Us at   [email protected]        Call Us at (404) 761-6699

Bag Checks at Work

bag checksIs it allowed for an organization to check the bags of employees and visitors when they leave a certain area of the premises?

Yes, you can check the bags and possessions leaving your premises. This should only be done if you have properly notified employees and visitors in advance of this practice.

By giving advance notice, you set an expectation of privacy on your premises and can search with a lower chance of disagreements  Employees are not forced to work for you. Visitors are not forced to enter your building. So making a decision to be there, knowing they will be searched, is ultimately up to them.

If you have an employee handbook, you can easily let employees know by having it include a policy addressing inspections and searches. You may want to specify exactly what belongings you may search, (ie: purses, back packs, briefcases) so employees know exactly what to expect. Since visitors do not acknowledge a handbook, they should receive notice of the search policy by means of a poster or verbal announcement.

You will  want to be sure that you are carrying out your searches in a way that is clearly non-discriminatory. If you are executing searches to prevent theft (as opposed to a specific instance where you have reasonable suspicion), then the searches should be done with all employees and visitors to prevent any potential discrimination claims.

Please be aware that you should never touch someone when executing a search, neither should you demand that an employee or visitor submit to the search in order to be allowed to leave. The first is a clear invasion of privacy, while the latter could lead to a claim of false imprisonment. Many employers find that a visual inspection of bags while they’re held open by the employees is sufficient to prevent theft.

In conclusion, your practice of searching bags of employees and visitors is fine as long as you’ve notified them of your policy and you conduct searches in a non-discriminatory way.

Should you have any additional questions regarding this or other employee topics, contact the professionals at CyQuest for help!