Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in Illinois

Personal property rights at the office

At work, we have had issues of Ghost Payrolling. Since this has come to light, I have been writing in my date book facts, thoughts, and my solutions to problems that are occuring in the work place. This is my way of dealing with the issues at work. These writings were never meant for any one else to read. My supervisor has been going through my desk top, underneath the desk and through the trash can. My date book was never left on the desk or open to any page with writing in it. It was put away in a file that sits on my desk. My question is my supervisor has admitted that she went through my date book has she violated my personal rights to write what I want in my private date book?

Asked on 5/01/03, 7:48 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Joseph DiCaprio DiCaprio & Associates

Re: Personal property rights at the office

The analysis that I would use is the expectation of privacy analysis. Is it reasonable to expect privacy at the office. Unfortunately, your right to privacy is weighed against the employers need to know what it's employees are doing. Your supervisor's date book snooping would probably fall outside the privacy issue. A court would probably find that if you wanted privacy, you should ahve taken the book home and locked your desk.

However, if you are collecting information to be used to stop fraud (ghost payrolls), you do have protection under the Federal whistleblowers Act. I hope this helps!

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Answered on 5/04/03, 11:22 pm

Robert Harlib Robert S. Harlib, Attorney At Law

Re: Personal property rights at the office

Perhaps you have a claim, but it depends on other factors such as whether the date book was issued to you by your employer,whether you at some time acknowledged that the date book was the property of the employer (usually this is done in writing at the time you are hired), as well as other factors which might have an impact on whether you have a claim.

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Answered on 5/05/03, 9:30 am

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