"Subject to search" signs.

Discussion in 'National Laws, Bills and Politics' started by foshizzle, May 7, 2007.

  1. foshizzle

    foshizzle New Member

    I tried looking this up but I haven't really found anything. Maybe I just don't know where to look.

    There is a sign at work (private company) that all bags and articles are "subject to search". I've seen the same thing in government facilities I visit.

    Can they really search me without a warrant if it's private or government property? Do they get an exemption or something? Can I be pat down on a government facility just because someone thinks I look "funny"? Can my company just search my bookbag on a whim? Do I lose my rights if they have these stupid signs?

    I :banghead: when I see this crap. Does it have any weight to it?
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist


    The Fourth Amendment's rules about search and seizure only applies to government agents and people acting on the instructions from government agents, so if a private company decides to invade your privacy, it's not a 4th Amd. issue.

    There is a "tort" of wrongful arrest / detention, but it's pretty rare. It may not be a satisfying way to guard your rights, if you threaten to sue.

    One common idea in both the civil law of torts and the Fourth Amendment is that people shouldn't be searched under circumstances when they reasonably feel like they have a right to privacy, and places that people reasonably expect to have privacy are places where the law will safeguard their privacy. Outside of such areas, there may not be any recognized privacy interest that is worth safeguarding.

    Therefore, when the business or agency puts up signs saying that you could be searched at any time while on the property, they are making it less reasonable for you to believe that you have an expectation of privacy. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say you don't have the right (at a time when you do), but because they said that you don't, you don't. That's a slippery slope for sure, but the courts are willing to let them go in that direction.

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Ideas

    Punching them in the nose is satisfying. :shattered:
  4. foshizzle

    foshizzle New Member

    So would search and seizure on government property still be a 4th amendment issue since


    So, I should have less of an expectation of privacy, but does that mean I still don't have any less rights than afforded to me in say... any other non-government building?

    I probably should have clarified the reasons I asked. I read this article posted by Malum in a different thread.

    http://policechiefmagazine.org/magazine ... d=122005#2

    I was basically wondering if people on private property with signs and government agents on government property had to abide by the same general guidelines as far as "anonymous" tips go. If someone doesn't like me at work and says "He carries a gun to work", can the police or government "agents" come and pat me down based on that alone?

    I'm not worried. I just read some of these threads and it seems that I need a law degree to even understand what rights I do have. Depressing :( I want to be lawful but it's not like I can turn around, drive 20 miles, drop off my gun at home, turn around, go drop off some mail... etc...
  5. legacy38

    legacy38 Well-Known Member

    As stated above, the Constitution is a limit on government and not on private citizens/entities.

    Do you have the right to exclude people from entering your home? Suppose you told anyone entering your home that they had to allow you to search them. They would then have the option of not entering your home. The same applies to a private company. If you don't want to enter you don't have to do so, but it will be hard to collect a pay check without going to work.
  6. notamasshole

    notamasshole Guest

    The worst is when they ask to search when it's time to leave without telling you when you go in.

    I was tempted to say no. I did argue with the guard for 30 seconds before deciding I liked my job so I couldn't just walk off. The interesting part is I don't even know the legal standings of where I was. I was in a state(shall remain nameless) in the US but in a "Foreign Trade Zone" they had a customs station and everything.
  7. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    Just keep walking. :wink:
  8. Tinkerhell

    Tinkerhell Active Member


    same boat for me 'Shiz. Been reading the same posts & trying to figure out what I shoudl say when & what rights I have & what authority the leo's have. Read Terry. Maybe after I read it about 20 more times it will be clearer. :(

    Computers are SOOOO much more simple. On/Off. That's all ya gotta know. :D
  9. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

    There are too many variables in your question for a simple answer. The government part already has been answered: The 4th Amendment applies only then, and not with regard to private property. Many government buildings search people upon entrance (e.g., courthouses). Whatever search they conduct as a condition of your entrance is okay, within reason. You have a 1st Amendment right to petition the government, and having to submit to a body cavity search in order to exercise that right is kind of infringing on that right. Apparently, running the cattle through a metal detector on the way in is okay. I'd say that once you are in, further searches of any kind are not reasonable without your consent, but you might be asked to leave.

    Private property (non employment related): Property owner does whatever he wants, you accept it or leave. There is an exception for public accommodations, in that they must adhere to assorted civil rights provisions (can't search only blacks or Jews, as that would be discriminating in a public accommodation).

    Private property (employment related): The property rights issues above apply, but there's the overlay of employment law. GA is employment at will. If you don't have an employment contract (most people don't), you can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all, as long as the reason is not illegal. You can be fired for refusing to consent to a search of your backpack, brief case, etc. You can't be fired for refusing to drop trow in the company cafeteria at lunch time -- you'd have a nice sexual harrassment claim with that one.

    Not your lawyer, not legal advice.