Can a supervisor legally take someone’s phone with the intention of not giving it back?

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Can a supervisor legally take someone’s phone with the intention of not giving it back?

Yesterday a supervisor told an employee that
the next time she saw his phone she would take
it, he wouldn’t get it back and he would get a
write up. The employee is expressly allowed use
of his phone on the floor to take pictures of
any issues that may go wrong with a machine.
It’s part of his job. So can she legally do
this? And if not then what action can he take?

Asked on April 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the employee is warned that is the policy, then yes, this is legal: being warned of it, if he returns to work (i.e. doesn't quit), then he is implicitly agreeing to a policy of confiscating his phone if used at work: i.e. if you go to your job with knowledge of its policies, you agree to those policies. Therefore, unless this is overturned by upper management, it is legal, and the employee should not show his phone at work.


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