Cahill: The hidden dangers of employee smartphone use
Employers who issue smartphones to their employees need to consider how those devices may impact overtime and internal policies. Most commonly, employees may be issued cellphones, smartphones, PDAs, tablets, pagers, or laptop computers, but the same concern arises out of simply providing remote access to the company’s internal computer system and/or email.
Companies need to examine how employees are granted access to work-related issues beyond regular work hours for several reasons.
A primary concern is overtime. While exempt employees are unaffected by the amount of time devoted to remote access of work, non-exempt employees are subject to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Quantifying the amount of time spent connected to work is challenging, because it is difficult to pinpoint how much time a person spends, for example, reading an email or even determining whether the person read the email during regular work hours or after-hours. Electronic time stamps and signatures can be useful, but they will not tell the employer whether the employee was half-heartedly reading work email for 30 minutes while watching “Dancing with the Stars.”
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