Author: Beth P. Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor
In today's workplace, where technology is commonplace and employers often require that employees stay in constant contact through telephone and email, many employers are encouraging employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) such as iPhones, iPads, laptops, tablets, Blackberries, cell phones, etc. to conduct company business. There are significant benefits to permitting employees to "bring their own devices", as it may serve as a cost saving measure and increase morale by allowing employees to choose the technology they will use to conduct business. However, there are also some potential concerns, as it greatly increases the risk of a security breach and that the employer's confidential and proprietary information and intellectual property will be compromised.
As a result, it is critical for an employer to implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that covers important issues such as data security, monitoring and employer reimbursement and best fits the needs of its business. In order to minimize employer liability and prevent accidents, the policy should address employee safety when using personal mobile devices to ensure safe use while driving and while performing in safety sensitive positions. Further, the policy should address the employer's right to monitor the use of such devices and put employees on notice of such monitoring so as to avoid invasion of privacy claims. Further, the policy should instruct employees on how to handle the use of personal mobile devices for business purposes outside of working hours. If an employee uses a personal device for business during nonworking hours, the employee may be entitled to overtime pay.
Once a policy is established, the employer should widely distribute the policy to all employees by placing it in the employee handbook and providing training on it to assure safe, responsible and acceptable use by all employees and supervisors.
XpertHR has incorporated this information into our Employment Law Manual and provided employers with a sample BYOD Policy. For more information on this topic, refer to the XpertHR resources below.