A new California Court of Appeals ruling has dealt a major blow to bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Although the case focused on employees working in retail, the court’s decision may have implications for any employer with a BYOD policy in place. It could potentially have repercussions for healthcare down the road.
In a class action lawsuit, a customer service representative named Colin Cochran sued his employer, Schwan’s home food delivery service on behalf of 1,500 customer service reps who had been denied reimbursement for work calls made on their personal mobile phones. Overturning the verdict of the California Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals ruled that employers must reimburse employees for some “reasonable portion” of their phone bill, even if the employee’s phone plan was unlimited (so the work calls cost them no additional money) or was paid for by a third party.
“It does not matter whether the phone bill is paid for by a third person, or at all,” the court wrote. “In other words, it is no concern to the employer that the employee may pass on the expense to a family member or friend, or to a carrier that has to then write off a loss. It is irrelevant whether the employee changed plans to accommodate work-related cell phone usage. Also, the details of the employee’s cell phone plan do not factor into the liability analysis. Not only does our interpretation prevent employers from passing on operating expenses, it also prevents them from digging into the private lives of their employees to unearth how they handle their finances vis-a-vis family, friends and creditors.” Keep reading>>