Does your employer require you to use your personal cell phone, tablet, laptop, or other device to do your job? BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—is the latest movement that has overtaken the workplace. It has benefits for both employees and employers, but some California employers have found that taking advantage of their workers’ willingness to BYOD may have legal consequences. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may wish to seek effective legal counsel.
Benefits of BYOD
It seems like everybody gets what they are after with BYOD policies: Employees do not have to carry around multiple devices and learn the intricacies of each one, while employers enjoy lower technology costs and increased productivity. Are there problems associated with the practice?
California Labor Code Section 2802
Colin Cochran filed a class action suit against his employer, Schwan’s Home Service, when California customer service managers were not reimbursed after being required to use personal cell phones to make work-related calls. 1,500 employees were represented in the suit. Major findings included:
- Customer service managers were incurring expenditures due to the BYOD requirement;
- Home Service was aware of, or should have been aware of these expenditures;
- Home Service failed to exercise due diligence in its responsibility to reimburse such expenses.
Ultimately, the court found that when companies require employees to use their own personal devices to perform work-related duties, there is an inherent responsibility for the employer to reimburse a portion of the bill. This is true regardless of whether or not using the device for work increases the cost of using the device, and it is true even if the employer is not personally responsible for the cost of the device.
When an Employee Leaves the Company
When an employee’s personal device contains company files on it, what happens when the employee and his or her boss part ways? When Saman Rajaee resigned from Design Tech Homes, the company lost no time in remotely wiping his personal smart phone of everything. Rajaee lost all of his personal data, in addition to company files. The device was restored to its original factory settings, prompting Rajaee to sue. What followed was time-consuming and expensive litigation.
Issues to Consider
The legal issues associated with BYOD in California can get somewhat convoluted. How should reimbursements be handled? Will all employees receive a lump-sum reimbursement, a percentage of their user cost, or will some other method be employed to fairly cover costs associated with BYOD? What happens if an employee’s personal device is damaged? What if it is lost or stolen? What arrangements are made for international travel? Does using a personal device imply that employees are expected to respond to phone calls and emails when they are “off the clock?” If so, will overtime pay kick in?
When BYOD is a Problem
If your company’s BYOD policy is causing you grief, there may be legal issues that can be resolved in a court of law. Contact the experienced team at HKM. We will take a look at your situation in an initial Consultation, and help you decide how to proceed. Contact our Los Angeles office today.