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Is this legal?

The hospital I work for assigns us lockers, and they have built in combos. I was recently made aware by a coworker that my locker was searched over a month ago because another coworker claimed to have seen me taking pills. I keep Claritin and Tylenol in my locker. When I need them, I take them. I was caught off guard by he fact hat this all took place and I was never asked or told about it. When I questioned my nm she said the found Claritin and Tylenol and figured I must have had a headache. I feel violated. I also want o confront this coworker. I don't take drugs, but I am fairly certain she does. In fact I will not waste with her because she can never produce what is to be wasted. What gives?

I'd be pretty ticked too. First off, be thankful you have one coworker who has your back and told you. Second, it sounds like the tattletail may be trying to get attention away from herself. I would say something to her, but no good can come of it. Watch your back with that one.

Well, well, well, so now you know. I would get a kevlar vest with extra padding for your back.

jkr2020788

Specializes in CCRN, ALS, BLS, PALS.

First off, I would check your hospital's policy. Alot of places say that they have the right to search anything on the campus. Now whether it was legal to not tell you that they searched your locker, I don't know. I would definitely talk with your nurse manager and tell her of your suspicsions of the other nurse. I refuse to waste with someone who doesn't draw the meds up in front of me. They can think I'm being a jerk or whatever all they want, be in the end, if they get caught, it will be on you too because you "said" you saw them waste the drug. And as caliotter3 said, get that kevlar vest and put a trauma plate in it, because I dont think Kevlar stops sharp objects....

OK. So now you know they will search your locker without you knowing or suspecting. You came out clean. Now you can decide whether you want to keep stewing about it or just see it as an eye opening experience. Personally they can search my locker anytime they want. Work related papers, extra pens for when I loose one, other unrelated junk. Just let my junk there!

i suspect that this was in reaction to your refusing to waste with her. also, now you have to worry about things being planted in your locker. my thoughts would be to stop using locker and make it a point to give it up. what ever you can't carry stays in your car.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in Oncology.

I suspect legality wise that the locker is hospital property and therefore they have the right to search it.

I am sure that it is, but i wonder if the user isn't owed a notification?

I suspect legality wise that the locker is hospital property and therefore they have the right to search it.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

I have a few questions and comments. How did the person who told you about the search know about it? It bothers me that a search was done with others present, if this is the case. While an employer might have the right to search lockers, it seems a violation of privacy to do it in front of other people. They would wonder what's going on and it would reflect on those who use the lockers.

How do you know the search was because someone accused you of having pills? Did the person who told you about the search also tell you that? Because those searching were talking about it? Again, nasty violation of the privacy... AND of someone not found to be guilty.

How do you know who reported you? I think it's your right to know, probably, maybe...and that knowledge surely would lead me to avoid that person. It's also your responsibility to report a suspicion of drug diversion. You suspect this person of doing that. If she is, that means a patient isn't getting the meds that are needed. It also means the diverter needs help and isn't thinking with a clear brain.

If you trust your manager and she is one you can talk to, go talk to her about your feelings of violation. If all if this continues to bother you and you don't get it out, it could color your attitude about working where you work. I doubt confronting the person who reported you would do any good. It would just keep your mind on it and add to her fuel. She can't escalate if you don't give her fuel. But, if you decide to confront the reporter, don't do it alone. Ask your manager to be with you. That way you have a witness. Then, calmly ask her reason for reporting you, and calmly react to whatever she says.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Has 40 years experience. Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

we can't give legal advice as per the terms of service. i agree with whispera that you need to tell your manager that you feel badly that they didn't tell you or search your locker in your presence....let alone searching the locker in front of other staff. usually if you are not there there should be an hr representative present. for an invasion of privacy there has to be the "assumption" of privacy.....it your employers locker.

while your work has the right to search your locker.......there are laws that protect your privacy, like searching the locker in front of others, at work. facility policies and state by state variances. so, i would check with a lawyer.

employers can usually search an employee's workspace, including their desk, office or lockers. the workspace technically belongs to the employer, and courts have found that employees do not have an expectation of privacy in these areas. some states may have laws concerning searches at work, and unions may have included terms about searches during collective bargaining. employees should always check on the laws in their state and the terms of any employment contract they may have
employees: privacy in the workplace - lawyers.com

i would also talk with hr and check your facilities policies as well as speaking to your boss, calmly and rationally, how you feel bvetrayed and hurt by these accusations and that you have not be asked about this and had to be told by another co-worker.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Why didn't your manager just ask you to submit to a drug screen?

Searching your locker is a strange way of going about checking for illicit drug use!

Besides watching your back around the suspected coworker, watch your back around your manager.

No WAY would I confront her. There is something else going on, and I bet the coworker is a busy little bee, planting ideas in her head.

Did you ever report your suspicions to NM? Refusing to witness with her is NOT ENOUGH. If you suspect drug use, and don't report it, in my facility you are just as responsible as the drug user.

GitanoRN, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 52 years experience. Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR.

first of all, i'm sorry that you had to go through this let along the humiliation in front of your peers. needless to say, i agree with all previous post, however, i'm not convinced that this is the end of the issue for some reason that i can't pin point my finger on it, i have a strong notion that there's something else brewing here. having said that, since we can't offer you legal advise on account of terms of service (tos) i would strongly suggest that you get advise from an attorney specialize in this medical staff issue. undoubtedly, i would watch my p's & q's from here on out. needless to say, this leaves me with a sour taste because i can't help to ponder of what else is behind all this? wishing you the best in all of your future endeavors...aloha~

llg, PhD, RN

Has 43 years experience. Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

i suspect that this was in reaction to your refusing to waste with her. also, now you have to worry about things being planted in your locker. my thoughts would be to stop using locker and make it a point to give it up. what ever you can't carry stays in your car.

This post brings up a good point. I would protect myself by telling my NM (and HR -- perhaps at a joint meeting) the whole story and asking to get rid of the locker. Tell her your fears that someone with an axe to grind would plant something in your locker and then report the presence of the substance to you. Ask for their help in keeping you safe from harm by a vengeful person.

Document your request for help -- just in case something like that happens in the future.

thanks,......I think i would simply state that the other nurse doesn't follow policy about waste, and not mention your thought that she/he may be diverting.

This post brings up a good point. I would protect myself by telling my NM (and HR -- perhaps at a joint meeting) the whole story and asking to get rid of the locker. Tell her your fears that someone with an axe to grind would plant something in your locker and then report the presence of the substance to you. Ask for their help in keeping you safe from harm by a vengeful person.

Document your request for help -- just in case something like that happens in the future.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

don't know about the law, but I will assume that the hospital considers the locker their property, not yours. It is there for your convenience. That said, don't leave anything in it that you don't want lost or talked about.

i suspect that this was in reaction to your refusing to waste with her. also, now you have to worry about things being planted in your locker. my thoughts would be to stop using locker and make it a point to give it up. what ever you can't carry stays in your car.

I would give up the locker in writing and keep a copy of my notice to the employer.

I have a few questions and comments. How did the person who told you about the search know about it? It bothers me that a search was done with others present, if this is the case. While an employer might have the right to search lockers, it seems a violation of privacy to do it in front of other people. They would wonder what's going on and it would reflect on those who use the lockers.

How do you know the search was because someone accused you of having pills? Did the person who told you about the search also tell you that? Because those searching were talking about it? Again, nasty violation of the privacy... AND of someone not found to be guilty.

How do you know who reported you? I think it's your right to know, probably, maybe...and that knowledge surely would lead me to avoid that person. It's also your responsibility to report a suspicion of drug diversion. You suspect this person of doing that. If she is, that means a patient isn't getting the meds that are needed. It also means the diverter needs help and isn't thinking with a clear brain.

If you trust your manager and she is one you can talk to, go talk to her about your feelings of violation. If all if this continues to bother you and you don't get it out, it could color your attitude about working where you work. I doubt confronting the person who reported you would do any good. It would just keep your mind on it and add to her fuel. She can't escalate if you don't give her fuel. But, if you decide to confront the reporter, don't do it alone. Ask your manager to be with you. That way you have a witness. Then, calmly ask her reason for reporting you, and calmly react to whatever she says.

Yes it was done with 2 coworkers present, they just happened to be in the locker room at the time. They asked what was going on, and they were told, "xyz RN" claimed to see miss lady rn taking something. So not only did they do it in front of people, they told those 2 people why and what was said. It was searched by the NM and the education clinician. I am not sure how many people know, but I do find this humiliating. I have never stolen or taken anything in my life! And I do feel that this was retaliation for me refusing to waste with XYZ nurse. It happened right after I told her in no uncertain terms if you don't have what needs to be wasted, don't call me to waste with you. I have never seen her take anything, but she never has the waste to waste.

Obviously I DO NOT trust my nm anymore,would you? When I asked about this she claimed they never suspected me of anything, but that they have to investigate all reports, she said if they had suspected anything they would have asked me to take a drug screen.

I have already cleaned out my locker. It is totally empty. I did it that day. I know there are some other nurses who do not use them, now I know why. I will notify my NM via email so I have it in writing. As for nurse xyz, we are going to have a little chat when I see her next time. I also am going to report in writing, to my nm that I suspect this was retaliation for refusing to waste with her and her lack of following the protocol.

your nurse manager shouldn't have access, this should be for security/HR. make sure you notify everyone that needs to know that you are not using locker, and the access code needs to be reset. Also do not confront this person alone, you will be giving her ammunition.

Yes it was done with 2 coworkers present, they just happened to be in the locker room at the time. They asked what was going on, and they were told, "xyz RN" claimed to see miss lady rn taking something. So not only did they do it in front of people, they told those 2 people why and what was said. It was searched by the NM and the education clinician. I am not sure how many people know, but I do find this humiliating. I have never stolen or taken anything in my life! And I do feel that this was retaliation for me refusing to waste with XYZ nurse. It happened right after I told her in no uncertain terms if you don't have what needs to be wasted, don't call me to waste with you. I have never seen her take anything, but she never has the waste to waste.

Obviously I DO NOT trust my nm anymore,would you? When I asked about this she claimed they never suspected me of anything, but that they have to investigate all reports, she said if they had suspected anything they would have asked me to take a drug screen.

I have already cleaned out my locker. It is totally empty. I did it that day. I know there are some other nurses who do not use them, now I know why. I will notify my NM via email so I have it in writing. As for nurse xyz, we are going to have a little chat when I see her next time. I also am going to report in writing, to my nm that I suspect this was retaliation for refusing to waste with her and her lack of following the protocol.

My nm did show me the report she wrote post search, it did state that they did not suspect any illicit drug use and had a detailed list of every pencil and thing they found in my locker.

Did you get a copy?

My nm did show me the report she wrote post search, it did state that they did not suspect any illicit drug use and had a detailed list of every pencil and thing they found in my locker.
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