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Your right to privacy in the workplace

As human beings, we naturally want to keep some aspects of our life private. In our personal lives, we have many rights to privacy. For example, we have the right to maintain the privacy of our home and personal property, and even law enforcement officials often must obtain permission, through search warrants, before breaching this privacy. However, when it comes to our work life, different privacy standards apply.

If you are wondering whether you have been a victim of a privacy breach in the workplace, it is important that you take the time to understand where the law in Missouri stands on this. If you find that your situation does constitute a breach of privacy, you may be able to take legal action against your employer.

The law regarding work-related searches

Generally speaking, anything that you have in your possession at work, as well as anything that you do or say within employment communication streams, can be legitimately subject to a search.

This tends to mean that your desk or locker could be searched, as well as your office computer and work emails. If you have a company car, then it would also be in the employer's power to search your car. An employer also has the authority to monitor your internet activity while using a work computer. They can monitor calls made on a company phone, but they do have the obligation to stop monitoring when it becomes clear that the call is a personal one.

Do I have privacy in regard to my personal religion and beliefs?

You have the right to be free from discrimination when it comes to the personal beliefs that you hold. Your employer cannot legally take negative action against you simply because they learn about your personal beliefs. However, if you have caused disruption in the workplace as a result of your personal beliefs, your employer can take appropriate action to put a stop to the disruption.

Your privacy rights are limited within the work environment. However, it is not uncommon for employers to overstep the line in regard to what is appropriate. It is important that you take action to assert your rights if you believe that your privacy at work has been violated.

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