Can an employer or co-worker touch or remove your personal belongings from your desk ?

My 2 other co-workers were asked to stay after hrs. to rearrange our desks, I was not told about this or ask to stay. In doing this, they removed all my personal and work related things out of my desk, gave my desk to one of my co-workers and gave me a desk that was not in as good shape. They then arranged their desks to face each other and have the ability to see the office surroundings and turned my desk to face the wall, which left me without the ability to see them or any of my surrounds. This is what I discovered as I walked in for my day.I don't understand why they felt they had the right to touch and remove my personal belonging just so another co-worker could have my desk and why I was turned to face the wall. My manager and her boss where both there and allowed this. I feel this whole situation was unfair and I am very upset. I am not a problem employee and have been with this company 6 yrs. which is longer than any of my co-workers. I can not understand why this was done to me and if they even have that right to do that with my things without my knowlege or consent. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks

2 answers  |  asked Feb 4, 2012 07:18 AM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (2)

Christopher Ezold
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, how the office is arranged is within the discretion of your employer. If your manager and her boss were there and approved the move, then that is their prerogative. Moving your personal belongings is also something they can do. If they damaged your belongings, they would have a legal obligation to pay for the damage.

Just because this is legal does not mean that it is right; from your description, this appears to be very unfair and not good management. Unfortunately, there is no legal recourse.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or telephon number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Feb 4, 2012 10:11 AM [EST]
Doris Dabrowski
In most workplaces, the desk and items used and produced in the course of employment are the property of the employer. Although coworkers may not steal or destroy your personal items, you do not have a right to any particular arrangement of your personal items within the workplace.

Doris Dabrowski
1525 Locust St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102

posted by Doris Dabrowski  |  Feb 4, 2012 09:04 AM [EST]

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