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"If you're handing out BlackBerrys like candy in the workplace, you better have a policy ... Smartphone News forum

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    cherrichiodo's Avatar
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    BlackBerry Clicks Can Up Company Costs

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    "If you're handing out BlackBerrys like candy in the workplace, you better have a policy in place to ward off potential overtime lawsuits."

    That's the advice many lawyers are shelling out to employers as the popularity of hand-held devices is booming in the workplace, allowing wired-up employees to work anywhere, anytime.
    Management-side attorneys fear a new wave of wage-and-hour litigation is just around the corner, where employees will claim overtime for all the hours they've spent clicking away on their BlackBerrys or other digital communication devices.

    "We'll see it; it's only a matter of time," said Jeremy Roth in the San Diego office of Littler Mendelson. Roth said he has cautioned several clients about the issue in the last year, advising them to get policies in place.

    "Before there was at least an argument that no, the employee is not being truthful when they say, 'I did all this work after hours.' But now, that swearing contest is taken out of the mix," Roth said. "If the employee says, 'Lets take a look at my BlackBerry,' you now have a record. If it's a text message, or a Wi-Fi at Starbucks -- if they're nonexempt and they're off the clock, that's a problem for employers."

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    Damn sometimes I try and claim my two cents worth of overtime

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    That going to be a major problem. I dont know how many times people I work with have to tether up and troubleshoot issues. We were actually talking about that on the way to lunch. Doesn't BES keep track of this type of information?

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    If the company has an overtime policy in place then they need to specify "do not use your blackberry during non-work hours". I think all these problems will dramatically increase as the "me" generation gets more of age. Its sad really.

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    Being responsible for the many IT systems at the office I need to stay connected just in case something major goes down that can't wait until Monday. When a situation occurs I log my hours from the moment I leave my house until the moment I return. This is no different from people having an alphanumeric pager(remember these?) that would alert someone if a system went down and an employee was called to the field to resolve the problem. The majority of our Blackberry users have a laptop and have the ability to connect via secure VPN to the network. The majority of these users log more hours on the laptop/Blackberry during non-peak hours than the standard 8-5 for one reason or another. I have yet to hear of litigation involving mobile users vs. my company or another organization. That being said, I believe it is the user's choice to select Messages and view corporate emails, or leave the icon be until the next workday.
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    We have deployed a customized BerryDialer calling card application (mainly for IDD calls) to all of our staff's BlackBerrys. The company is claiming that we could save up to 80% on calls. Well, "up to" ..

    Anyway, we are saving around 60% on calls of our BlackBerry users. That's still pretty good anyway

    Ah, we could get the program with our coporate calling card pre loaded. That's nice so no-one needs to setup anything...

    However, it doesn't help so save on Internet usage, but we don't have a problem with that yet. The usage is quite moderate.

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    Using O/T to view E-mails is better than using the 1st part of the morning to do it.

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    Yeah my company (well some of the managers)freak out if we access our work email when we are not in the office. ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

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    ldcmobile's Avatar
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    I think it could be an issue, and its all about companies putting it into policy. Most IT companies have some type of tracking system of work, and if somebody was to claim overtime they'd have to show what work was actually done. Checking e-mail should not count as overtime in the same way checking your voicemail when you're away from work doesn't count as overtime.

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    I'm on salary so I dont get to worry. I'll open work email and read it and then just mark it "unopened" for tomorrows headache. It really is a self-control issue. Why couldn't IT just limit BES traffic during working hours?? seems simple but I"m no expert.
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    Checking e-mail or voicemail anytime other than between 9-5 should be overtime. This may be hard to enforce or respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by ldcmobile View Post
    I think it could be an issue, and its all about companies putting it into policy. Most IT companies have some type of tracking system of work, and if somebody was to claim overtime they'd have to show what work was actually done. Checking e-mail should not count as overtime in the same way checking your voicemail when you're away from work doesn't count as overtime.

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    It will become an issue eventually. I know of at least one local employer where I am that issues BES connected devices to their field people. At least one of the managers gets irate if he doesn't get almost immediate response from his engineers from his emails requesting project updates. Sometimes he sends these updates at 11:30 in the evening.

    So yeah, as long as there are jerks still in the workplace, and specifically jerks stuck somewhere in the middle management layer, lawyers will have a frivilous to toss a lawsuit at.
    If I knew where I was going, I might already be there. -- Cross Canadian Ragweed.

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    i guess that the standard 'salaried' employee will be going away soon, ay? the companies that i have worked for in the past have all had company issued blackberries given to all the IT folk and ya, they were expected to answer emails (or alarms) 24/7; course, they had 'shifts' but still...

    the last company i worked for comp'd days off for OT worked on weekends and at night

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    Sounds like me. Always getting emails even when away from work. Damn BES

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    my general rule is if it takes me longer than a half hour to resolve i'm "clocking" in... and even then it usually means just checking out a half hour early on friday
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