Blackberry - non exempt - Policy/Protocol/Training???

We now are have more requests for people to have blackberries, laptops etc.

We have a policy that states all work must be reported and entered in to the payroll system. Non-exempt employees must have all work from home time pre-approved. etc. etc. etc. Up until now - onlyexempt people have blackberries.

Does anyone have a protocol for non-exempt people to have a blackberry? How do you govern it? What are the expectations you have for them?

What type of training do you give them in regards to the laws etc.

I am need of some advice and/or sharing of what you have developed in your company. I know what I want to say and that would be NO!! But I don't think I can say it loud enough!!

Thank you.


  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Our policies are quite simple in this situation. It simply isn't allowed.

    While we do allow non-exempt employees to occasionally work from home in extreme circumstances, they must clock in/out and remote in through our secure network so that we can monitor actual work time. With that said, we do not allow non-exempt employees to have (1) laptops, (2) company-paid cell phones, (3) company-reimbursed cell phones.

    The reasoning behind this is just as you stated, it is too hard to track and blurs the line a bit between an employee being perceived as non-exempt or exempt, regardless of what the job description states. Also, laws in your state may create issues for non-exempts working from home, especially if your state has "day of rest" laws or mandates concerning meal breaks after a certain number of hours on the job.

    To make a case for your management team, I would hand over copies of applicable laws in your state concerning off-the-clock work, required meal and rest breaks, and if you have it, sample case law showing the BIG penalties that can happen when wage & hour laws are violated.

    Good luck!
  • edited August 2015 PMVote Up0Vote Down
    I did some digging in our article database and put together the following points taken from articles in Indiana Employment Law Letter and Vermont Employment Law Letter

    You should instruct your nonexempt employees to record all of the hours they work, regardless of whether the work is performed outside their normal working hours or away from your place of business. "Work" includes taking and placing work-related phone calls, text messages, and e-mails. If you don't want to pay nonexempt employees outside their normal working hours, you should instruct them not to perform any work outside their scheduled working hours. Explain that the prohibition includes working before clocking in or after clocking out and taking or placing work-related phone calls, text messages, and e-mails. The FLSA does not require time clocks, but you must have some method of recording time worked. If an employee performs unauthorized work, you must pay him for the time worked, but you may discipline or discharge him for violating your rules.

    You should also consider placing limitations on when nonexempt employees can use the devices after hours. Some employers may want to require that employees first get permission before using mobile technology after work hours, while others may choose to sidestep the issue altogether by issuing company-owned devices only to exempt employees. Keep in mind, however, that if a nonexempt employee purchases her own mobile technology and uses it to perform work outside the office, you may still be liable for overtime claims, even though the device wasn't company-provided.

    Finally, be mindful of how much and how often you encourage your employees to use mobile technology. Some employers expect their employees to be constantly accessible through some form of communication. In other workplaces, employees independently check their mobile technology , even if there's no formal requirement or expectation that they do so. In either case, nonexempt employees should be advised that you don't expect them to spend more than a minimal amount of time checking messages from outside the office and that they should report on their time sheets any time spent outside work checking e-mails when it exceeds a minimal amount. 

    I also like Still Need Coffee's advice about convincing the higher ups about the dangers of having non exempt employees use mobile technology by showing them a case where it's gone wrong for the employer. You can start with this news release from the DOL's Wage and Hour Division about T-Mobile paying $4.7 million in back wages for violating the FLSA
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