Boss Demands To See Employee's Phone For 'Proof' After She Said She'd Be Late To Work Because Her Son Was Sick

The boss claimed that he never received a message from his employee that she would be late and demanded evidence from her phone.

Boss, cell, phone, employee Andrii Iemelianenko / MUNGKHOOD STUDIO / Shutterstock

After a woman informed her boss that she would be late for work one morning, he demanded proof of the dilemma that contributed to her lateness. When she refused to provide him with any, he became angry with her and even got his assistant involved.

Now, the woman is asking others if she should have given her boss definite proof of why she was late to avoid further conflict.

The woman’s boss demanded to see her phone after he claimed he never received her message informing him that she would be late.

Sometimes dilemmas arise in life that are out of our control. This is exactly what happened to one woman as she was preparing to go to work. 


Sharing her story to the AITA subreddit, the 26-year-old employee revealed that before one of her shifts, her three-year-old son became ill, and she had to take him to a hospital. She claimed that she sent her boss a text message letting him know that she would be an hour late for work.

However, once she arrived, her boss summoned her into his office. “He started questioning me about being late but I told him I already sent him a text telling him why,” the woman wrote. “He said he didn't receive anything but I assured him that I sent it.”

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The woman’s boss then asked her to hand over her cell phone so that he could ensure that she had sent the message. The woman refused, instead suggesting that he check his phone again just to double-check that he had not gotten a message. “He again denied receiving anything and said there was no point in checking his inbox,” the woman wrote.

She did not want to hand her boss her cell phone since she had “private messages” with her boyfriend that she didn’t want him to stumble upon. However, her boss believed that her refusal was due to the fact that she may have been lying about sending the message in the first place.

woman says boss demanded to see her phone to catch her lyingPhoto: Nattakorn_Maneerat / Shutterstock 


Still, the woman held her ground and did not hand her boss her phone. “He got more upset and told me to step outside,” she revealed. After making the woman wait outside for 30 minutes, he sent out his assistant to confront the woman and attempt to convince her to “have a quick look” at her phone.

When she declined his assistant’s request, the woman claimed that the situation “escalated” and she was sent home until the matter was resolved.

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“My boss is angry with me and his assistant is claiming that it was such a weird hill to die on and that if I truly did send him a message then I should just let him have a look,” she wrote. “I'm an extremely private person and the thought of him peeking at private, vulnerable conversations with my boyfriend makes me uncomfortable.”


The woman asked other Redditors if she was in the wrong and if she should have handed her phone over to her boss so that he could see the message himself.

Her phone was her personal and private property and her boss had no right to request that she hand it over to him.

Most people in the comments agreed. “You suggested a very reasonable compromise that would give him all the information he needed from you and he refused. He just wanted to pry,” one Redditor commented. “This was creepy, inappropriate, and most probably illegal. I would report to HR depending on your area's privacy laws.”

“Regardless if your boss does or does not have a good reason not to trust you, he needs to deal with it like a professional. You can’t just invade someone’s privacy,” another user wrote. Others encouraged the woman to find another job with a more reasonable employer.


Generally, your personal phone records are protected from your boss, and they do not have the legal right to collect them unless there is a reasonable suspicion of employee misconduct.

Employers can also record and monitor calls that are received on a work-provided phone for quality control purposes. However, privacy laws require them to stop recording as soon as they realize that the call is personal. 

If an employee is using their personal cell phone for work-related purposes, their boss does have the right to monitor any activities they are participating in while on the job. Although, an employer must alert their employees when their devices are a reasonable subject for a search. 

It is important for employees to familiarize themselves with their specific company policies, including BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that are in favor of monitoring personal devices when they are being used at the workplace. 


Being late to work and providing a valid reason generally does not allow your boss the right to seize your personal phone and check your text messages for proof. 

The woman’s boss certainly did not need to scroll through her personal phone and risk stumbling upon her intimate messages. He could have easily admitted to his mistake and not have sparked a fuss in the workplace.

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.