The Risks of Employee Cell Phone Usage
Cell phones are a vital part of everyone’s lives. Since they provide 24-hour access to information and data, it should come as no surprise to find out that cell phones can pose serious risks for business owners. Employees who use their cell phones to work outside of company time and even transfer data could land a company in hot water. Here are a few ways to mitigate these issues in addition to including a Risk Management strategy in the business portfolio.
According to Inside Counsel, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and many state laws require that employers must pay non-exempt employees a minimum wage for all time worked, and overtime for hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Therefore, if nonexempt employees exceed this time regularly, say by checking emails and phone calls, they may be due compensation.
To reduce the liability of such claims, companies need to create policies to address this. For example, is working outside of company time prohibited? Will their access be restricted? Do they need to clock in from home? Consider the best strategy that will work best for the company.
Further, inappropriate conduct and harassment can easily take place as a result of using a cell phone. The built in camera, microphone, and video capabilities create various exposures for employers. It’s recommended that employers restrict cell phone use at the office and have the employees sign an agreement that acknowledges cell phone and social media practices outside of work.
Lastly, employees who are commuting for work and are distracted by texting and driving can lead to claims of negligence against the employer. Ensure strict policies are understood and in writing, and include disciplinary actions that will result from violations.
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