PUBLISHING & EDITORIAL
CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER
Jessica Perry | Jessica.Perry@shrm.org
VICE PRESIDENT, EDITORIAL
Tony Lee | Tony.Lee@shrm.org
Christina Folz | Christina.Folz@shrm.org
Desda Moss | Desda. Moss@shrm.org
John Scorza | John. Scorza@shrm.org
Dori Meinert | Dori.Meinert@shrm.org
COPY DESK MANAGER
Erin Binney, Liane DiStefano
Allen Smith, J.D.
Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM-SCP
Stephen Miller, CEBS
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
DIRECTOR, CREATIVE SERVICES
John R. Anderson Jr.
SENIOR DESIGN SPECIALIST
Katerina Cochran, Anca Popa, Julia Tylor
VICE PRESIDENT, ADVERTISING
SALES & MARKETING
Tim Canny | Tim.Canny@shrm.org
HR SOLUTIONS: ASK A SHRM HR KNOWLEDGE ADVISOR
Can we prohibit backpacks, purses and
other bags at work or require employees to
keep personal items in clear pouches?
Yes. With increasing safety concerns over workplace and school shoot- ings, clear-bag or no-bag policies are trending. But these rules come with challenges and may not be practical for many businesses.
For one thing, exceptions will likely be necessary. While you can set rules
about which items are subject to surveillance, employees are entitled to a rea-
sonable degree of privacy within the workplace, such
as in restrooms and changing areas, and shouldn’t
be subject to a search unless absolutely necessary.
So, if you adopt a clear-bag or no-bag rule, workers
will need a way to protect the privacy of their pre-
scription labels, for example. One way to address this
is to specify that containers for medications must be
kept in opaque pouches of a certain size, while bags
large enough for storing a weapon are not permitted.
In the less common scenario that a person has to
bring a medical device to work, you can ask for documentation from a health
care provider afrming that need, but the note should not include a diagnosis,
which could run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You’ll also need
to make exceptions for nursing mothers who must use breast pumps.
Finally, consider people’s privacy expectations regarding other items,
including feminine hygiene products, contraceptives or state welfare cards.
Employees should be allowed to carry these things in a discreet manner.
It might seem less complicated to have a no-personal-belongings policy
rather than a clear-bag requirement with a long list of exceptions. But an
outright ban isn’t likely to sit well with people who don’t want to put their lip
balm, car keys, money and breath mints in their pockets.
That option may work best in workspaces that have a secured area—
perhaps a locker room or break room—where workers can store their possessions
and access them during breaks.
—Regan Gross, SHRM-SCP, an HR Knowledge Advisor for SHRM
For more HR Q&As, go to shrm.org/hrqa
DRUG USE AT WORK: HIGHS AND LOWS
in U.S. workforce in
2017 versus the
in 2017, compared to
3.6% in 2008