Can a co-worker be fired for going through my desk and sending my payroll information to her husband via text?

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2012

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Can a co-worker be fired for going through my desk and sending my payroll information to her husband via text?

I left my office and one of my co-workers went through my desk to find my pay stub and tried to text my hours pay and sick time to her husband. Instead she sent the text directly to me. Is it legal for her to do this and can she be fired for it?

Asked on January 14, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

She can be fired for doing so; however, your employer is not required to fire her--it's their choice.

You do not necessarily have a privacy expectation in anything kept in your desk at work, since the desk belongs to the employer, not you, and the employer would have the right to go through it at will. The employer may be able to take other legal action against her; it is not clear that you could, unless you suffer some loss from the release of this information (e.g. it it used somehow to steal your identify)--if misuse causes you a loss, in that case, you may be able to take legal action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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