Beachboard, who is a shareholder in the Los Angeles and Torrence, California offices of national employment law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., shared his tips on texting while driving at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition held recently in Atlanta, Georgia.
Beachboard reports studies that suggest:
That all adds up to some serious issues around portable devices. Texting while driving is critical, however, as the only one that’s actually physically dangerous as opposed to lawsuit dangerous.
Studies indicate that driver reaction time is 35% slower when texting while driving, says Beachboard. That’s worse than DUI at 21% ant marijuana at 12%.
Another study shows that 1.4 million crashes a year are caused by drivers talking or texting.
Some examples of employer liability for distracted driving:
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Beachboard recommends that employers:
One study suggests that many employees spend more than 1 hour per day sending and receiving work-related emails off-hours. Typically, that time is not documented or reported.
However, if the employees in question are non-exempt, that time may be compensable. For example:
In Agui v. T-Mobile, Inc., non-exempt salespersons sued claiming they were required to respond to emails after hours while off the clock (the suit settled).
In Allen v. City of Chicago, the court refused to find that time spent by police officers performing work on mobile devices after hours was de minimus.
Beachboard suggests that companies:
Mobile devices after hours—a challenge, but certainly not your only challenge. In HR, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Like FMLA intermittent leave, overtime hassles, ADA accommodation, and then on top of that whatever the agencies and courts throw in your way.
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Privacy. The director of information services can override any individual password and thus has access to all e-mail messages in order to ensure compliance with company policy. This means that employees do not have an expectation of privacy in their company e-mail or any other information stored or accessed on company computers.
E-mail review. All e-mail is subject to review by management. Your use of the e-mail system grants consent to the review of any of the messages to or from you in the system in printed form or in any other medium.
Solicitation. In line with our general non-solicitation policy, e-mail must not be used to solicit for outside business ventures, personal parties, social meetings, charities, membership in any organization, political causes, religious causes, or other matters not connected to the company’s business.
We should point out that this is just one of hundreds of sample policies on the site. (You’ll also find analysis of laws and issues, job descriptions, and complete training materials for hundreds of HR topics.)
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