Ask the Legal: Can an employer prohibit an employee from using personal electronic devices at work?

Yes. Employers are entitled to their employees’ undivided attention during working hours. However, a policy that completely prohibits the use of cell phone and other personal devices is difficult to monitor and enforce, especially in an office environment. In those cases, employers might want to consider a policy that allows employees to use their devices during meals and breaks, or one that permits limited use of personal devices as long as it does not interfere with their work or their coworkers’ work. Employees must abide by all company policies when using personal devices at work. There are some circumstances when the use of personal devices should be prohibited such as in a factory or shop where such use could interfere with the job and may even be dangerous.

As appeared in:  Pittsburgh Business Times, 4/18/2014

Terri Imbarlina Patak