I have Union and Non-Union employees who are paid hourly. Can I request to View an employees personal phone while they are at work of to ascertain if they were on the phone/ social media during work when an accident occurred. This could lead to their termination.
More information is needed and you should immediately search AVVO and consult with an experienced Employment and Labor attorney in your area. There is no substitute for an in person consultation with an experienced attorney in your area. They will know the lay of the land in your area. You should also talk to your Union Representative.
LABOR UNIONS KEEP AMERICA STRONG!
Civil Law Courts sometimes have “self-help” departments staffed by paralegals to assist the general public with the selection, completion and filing of employment related motions. These individuals are knowledgeable in employment issues. They may or may not give you legal advice specific to your case, but they will give you practical advice on how best to proceed, what forms to file, and anticipated time frames involved. You may want to contact your local Law School and see if they have a Community Legal Aid Clinic, staffed by Law Students but supervised by licensed attorneys. You may also want to consult with your Union Representative or your local Legal Aid Office. But for best results search AVVO and talk to a Labor or Employment attorney in your area.
If possible you should consult in person with a qualified AVVO Employment and Labor Attorney, or your legal aid office. This is not legal advice. You need to speak to an attorney who is licensed in your state for legal advice. This is merely suggestions for you to think about in discussing your situation with the local Employment and Labor attorney.
You can always ask but that doesn't mean that they will show you. You mention that some employees are union and some are non-union so what you can and cannot do may be limited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement in regards to the union employees. As the other attorney mentioned you would do well to speak with a local employment & labor attorney in your area to get a better more detailed answer to your question. Depending upon what you are referring to as far as an accident it may well be something that you should be entitled to. For example, if you are referring to a motor vehicle accident while operating a commercial vehicle subject to US DOT regs you might be able to gain access to cell phones. Even if it is something else you may want to modify your employee manual to give yourself the right to examine cell phones in an investigation or to require that cell phones not be on the work floor.
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE - NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE ATTACHES - FOR INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice ONLY comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles - NOT your state's specific laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this educational exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights.
Missouri, like nearly every other state, is an "at-will" employment state. That means, unless you have an employment contract that says otherwise, you can be terminated at any time, for any reason (or even no reason at all), and without notice. Unless you can show that the real reason for your termination is BECAUSE OF your race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, or that you were terminated in retaliation for exercising some legal right, the termination is legal.
If you ask your employee to look at his/her cell phone, and the employee refuses, you can terminate the employee for insubordination.
Still, as the other attorneys say, the best thing to do is talk to an employment law attorney BEFORE you take any action.
I'm licensed to practice law only in Indiana, and we've never met, so I can't give you "legal" advice. My answer is simply "friendly" advice based on my experience as an attorney in Indiana, my knowledge of federal and common law, and common sense. Even if you are in Indiana, employment law questions are very fact specific, and based on the limited information you provided in your post, I can't give you legal advice, and my answer is intended as general information only. It doesn't create an attorney-client relationship.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline