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Cell Phone Policies in the Workplace

California employment lawyerThe pervasive use of smart phones, texting devices, tablets and other electronic communication devices means that we are now connected to each other, and to the world 24/7. In the workplace, these technologies are used routinely for business activities, and many employees use their cell phones for personal use as well. However, as with everything, employers may want to define how technologies are used in the workplace, so that it does not lead to confusion, and possibly a very expensive employment lawsuit against your company in the future.

Many businesses provide cell phones to their employees as part of their work. But can employees also make personal calls using these phones? Have a relaxed policy in this matter. Employees work long hours, and when you factor in commutes, may not reach home until late in the evening. That means they spend several hours away from their family, and need to keep in touch with family members while at work. California employment lawyers suggest humane policies when it comes to cell phone use for personal use, but ensure that there are restrictions. Make sure that your policy very specifically restricts overuse of the cell phone for personal matters.

Place restrictions on contact with an employee on business-related matters after work hours. You may not realize it, but calling your employee after she has left the office for the day to inquire about a work-related matter, could actually qualify as “off-hours” work.

If your employee is using an office-provided cell phone while driving her car and causes an accident, you, as an employer, could be held liable. Enforce very strict restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving. Launch workplace campaigns that target distracted driving in the workplace. Focus especially on those employees, who may be driving frequently on office work.

Address issues of privacy in the workplace. Cell phones with cameras can be used to take pictures of other employees, which can then be posted on Facebook and other social networking sites. Not all employees will be comfortable with this. Also, address the fact that any privileged company information can be shared by employees with others through smart phones. Speak with a California employment lawyer about how you can address all of these issues.

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