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Can an employer search your vehicle?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by WebHobbit, Jul 10, 2003.

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  1. WebHobbit

    WebHobbit Member

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    I work at warehouse. For years I have "carried" my gun in a locked bag hidden inside another bag (camera type thing) in my car during work hours. Guns/weapons are NOT allowed inside the warehouse. This is posted and also stated in documents signed at time of employment.

    No documents expressly state that you give them the right to search your vehicle. This is a Union shop and there is also no provision for this in the contract.

    So I'm wondering CAN my employer force me to allow a search of my vehicle IF they merely "suspect" I have a gun in the car?

    At no time is my gun EVER visible when on company property.

    The reason I ask is because sometime last year a disgruntled co-worker "turned me in". The job I have as "Problem Solver" sometimes forces me to ruffle a few feathers over accuracy issues. :(

    Security took me up to the front office and informed me of the rule about not having firearms on company property (including the parking lot they said) and told me they had "reason to suspect I have a gun in my car".

    :rolleyes:

    They asked me if I did and I said "no".

    :scrutiny:

    They dropped the whole thing after that but I did stop packing my piece in my car.

    I am considering restarting this practice as I HATE not having it for the drive home...sort of sucks.

    I guess I need to consult a lawyer as I really want to know WHERE the company's property starts and stops in regard to MY car. I would think the space inside my car is MY property.

    I have a carry license so it's not a matter of getting arrrested I just don't wanna lose my job.

    Opinions please!
     
  2. Norm357

    Norm357 Member

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    No. Your employer has no legal auth. to search your car. However, if your not in a right to work state they could fire you for refusal to allow the search.
    Norm
     
  3. WebHobbit

    WebHobbit Member

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    I don't think Indiana is a "right to work state". Can someone confirm?

    I'm liked fairly well by the company I suppose as they have granted me a good deal of security as far as the computer network goes...so they do "trust" me I guess. However if someone forced their hand it could go either way.

    The twit that told has been fired. So that's a plus! :)

    Also I don't tell people about the gun that don't need to know anymore. But I have been at this job for about 17 years and I wasn't so prudent a few years back. :banghead:

    So there are a number of folks who either know that I'm a "gun guy" or can pretty much assume I am.
     
  4. riverdog

    riverdog Member

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    I work at a military base, so it goes with the teritory that they can and do search my car when they do random checks. Besides, I'm in CA.

    That said, whatever you decide to do, don't tell anybody... except maybe your lawyer if you decide to go that route. Don't even tell THR audience, we don't have the need to know what WebHobbit decides to do regarding carrying to work.
     
  5. CZ-75

    CZ-75 member

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    You might consider getting a mousegun and secreting it somewhere that they wouldn't look in a casual search, as I doubt they're going to tear the vehicle apart doing so.

    FWIW, don't ask and don't tell.
     
  6. KC

    KC Member

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    They cannot search your car because they are suspicious/paranoid, unless you give them permission. Depending on the state, they could call the cops, who can almost search your car at will. (CA is like this.) If they fire you because you did not let them search your car, then you could find a lawyer who could force a nice out-of-court settlement from them, socialized labor state or not.
    Of course, it would be even better if the employer broke into your car and ransacked it without your permisssion. Breaking and entering, theft of a firearm...good times.:neener:
     
  7. Carlos Cabeza

    Carlos Cabeza Member

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    I sort of have the same problem Webhobbit. Since this Miss. shooting thing everyone is a bit skeered. Everyone knows that I am a firearms enthusiast and I think just the thought of this to some, scares the poop out of 'em. The only reason I carry is for the respect of life that I have but sheep will be sheep. :rolleyes: I think it would be a matter of company policy if searches were allowed, you could refuse but it may cost you you're job. Me, I can find another job, I won't let anyone be responsible for my well being but ME !. YMMV. I Hope you do the right thing.
     
  8. Norm357

    Norm357 Member

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    KC the police cannot search your car at will. If you are ever asked to have your car searched, decline. Thats all there is too it. Without a warrent or probable cause your car cannot be searched.
    Norm
     
  9. KC

    KC Member

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    Norm357: technically, you are correct.
    However, out here in the Peoples Republic of California, the cops can pull you over to give you a field sobriety test if they feel like it. They can search your car if you object to them doing this as they now have reasonable suspicion. (After all, if you arent DUI, you should not object to the test and have no trouble passing it.) Oh, and you will have your licence suspended for 12 months. And other BS.
    Dont believe me? go to http://www.dmv.ca.gov and see for your self.
     
  10. hops

    hops Member

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    If you park on their property, I believe they can search your car, just like they can search your hand bag , purse or whatever when you enter the building. This is usually done to help prevent the theft of items or industrial espionage.
    Most firms require you to get a 'property pass' to being in valued personal items, like your own lap top, if company it so poor or cheap to give you one for company / work related use. Or you want to take pictures, since most companies have policies against on site photography...... And so on.

    See what your firm's HR policies are on these types of searches. Your state may have laws, or if a Union-shop, the Union contract may mention it.

    It's ultimately their private property you're on.

    If you have a valid CHL to carry a gun, you should at least be able to keep it in your car, outside of the actual building. Would be nice if they would alllow carry in building too, but.....
     
  11. Tommy Gunn

    Tommy Gunn Member

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    Lock it in the trunk of the car.

    Because its locked, the police would need a search warrant to open it. If there is a safe inside, they need another search warrant....
     
  12. WebHobbit

    WebHobbit Member

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    They don't allow firearms ANYWHERE on company property.

    SO my question is:

    IF the gun is inside a bag and THAT BAG is locked up inside my car is the gun on MY property or their's?

    It's a narrow distinction for sure but I think it may be valid. Any lawyers at THR?
     
  13. GSB

    GSB Member

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    Security can request a search of those items, and they can deny you entry if you refuse, but I would very much doubt they have any legal standing to forcibly do any of those things. They are not law enforcement officers.

    Look at it this way: you have a right to ask to strip search any woman who wants to enter your house as a condition for entry (and I doubt you'll get any takers), but you'll be seeing some jail time if you forcibly strip search her just because she's on your property.
     
  14. KC

    KC Member

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    1)Lock your car. Tell them no, they may not search your car without a warrant.
    1a)If they do produce a warrant, make sure it's served by an on-duty policeman. Delay and prevaricate the search until your lawyer gets on phone with company rep. search will likely be canceled on request of company.
    2) Spend $50 and get a lawyer to print out and sign their standard "cease and desist" letter, and send it certified mail to your company.

    3) Spend unhappy afternoon with the Human Resources nazis defending your civil rights
    4) find new job...
     
  15. Norm357

    Norm357 Member

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    Norm357: technically, you are correct.
    However, out here in the Peoples Republic of California, the cops can pull you over to give you a field sobriety test if they feel like it. They can search your car if you object to them doing this as they now have reasonable suspicion. (After all, if you arent DUI, you should not object to the test and have no trouble passing it.) Oh, and you will have your licence suspended for 12 months. And other BS.
    Dont believe me? go to http://www.dmv.ca.gov and see for your self.

    While I believe that anything is posible in Califorina, I cannot see how this would be legal. It violates your 4th? ammendant rights. The police have to have probable cause to pull you over in the first place. They just cannot pick you out from traffic and say lets give him a sobriety test. Any and all evidence would be thrown at trial. Just ask the state of Louisanna. The Supreme Court just gave them a big smackdown for this. I will try to find the case and report back.
    Norm
     
  16. mcole

    mcole Member

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    no, they cannot search your car. if they ask for permission; they do not have probable cause. mcole
     
  17. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    A private employer? Probably depends on the state. The states that treat your car as an extension of your home would probably look down upon unwarranted searches by private citizens. The states which do not will not.

    Of course I work for the government on an Army base so...
     
  18. WebHobbit

    WebHobbit Member

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  19. DontShootMe

    DontShootMe Member

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    LOL

    Obviously you have not been to CA.

    They can stop you, put you in their squad car, search your car (and they dont put everything back the way it's supposed to be), let you out of the car, and tell you 'have a nice day' - and they dont HAVE to tell you why they stopped you. If you demand to know, they may feel you are not respecting their authority and you'll be arrested and charged with the "charge of the month", and 'the judge will sort it out later.

    If you have problems with their methods and you want to sue, you'd better have a video camera and a tape recorder to take with you to court because their word is ALWAYS better than yours.
     
  20. dustind

    dustind Member

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    I have seen houndreds of cases like this, I used to be involved with traffic laws/reform. The police in ********** stop cars for no reason all the time, I know many of Kali's traffic codes better than Minnesota's.
     
  21. MoonMan

    MoonMan Member

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    Wrong.

    To answer the question about whether things in your car are on your property or theirs, the answer is THEIRS.

    But they have no right to search your car without a warrant, or permission.

    Of course they could always make searches a condition of parking there.
     
  22. HBK

    HBK member

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    Can you parl off their property? As a teacher, I've thought of parking off campus to solve that problem.
     
  23. Norm357

    Norm357 Member

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    Obviously you have not been to CA.

    They can stop you, put you in their squad car, search your car (and they dont put everything back the way it's supposed to be), let you out of the car, and tell you 'have a nice day' - and they dont HAVE to tell you why they stopped you. If you demand to know, they may feel you are not respecting their authority and you'll be arrested and charged with the "charge of the month", and 'the judge will sort it out later.

    If you have problems with their methods and you want to sue, you'd better have a video camera and a tape recorder to take with you to court because their word is ALWAYS better than yours.


    Dontshootme, That is against the law. Can you cite me one case where someone has been stopped and searched without proper PC?
    Norm
     
  24. dustind

    dustind Member

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    Norm357

    They can fully search your car if they think it may be modified illegally. An example would be the wrong headlights(over 60/65 watts), engine modifications, lowered, etc. It happens all the time.
     
  25. WebHobbit

    WebHobbit Member

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    HBK said:

    I wish I could park someplace else but it would add a 30 minute walk to and from. :uhoh: Just don't have that kind of time...wish I did as my gut could use 60 more minutes of forced excersize a day!
     
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