Canine sniff searches of employees for contraband at New York City jails are unconstitutional, the correction officers union said in a new lawsuit against the city filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan.

A new order issued by the city Department of Corrections in June authorized the use of dogs to search both employees and visitors, and requires employees to submit to a pat frisk or strip search if they alert the dog's nose, the lawsuit said.

The new policy also says any employees who refuse a search will be suspended, arrested for obstructing governmental administration and searched on that basis, according to the complaint, which says the new policy violates the Constitution and state law.

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The new policy comes amid a campaign by correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte to crack down on massive smuggling of drugs and weapons at Rikers Island and other jails, which the city has identified as a prime cause of violence.

A spokesman for the city's law department said, "We'll review the lawsuit once we are served."