Dilemma of the Month: Professional Work on Your Personal Cell

by Evil HR Lady on February 5, 2016

I work at a marketing company and often work long hours. Sometimes issues come up outside of the office, and I frequently find myself using my cellphone (and personal computer) for work — sometimes to field client calls, but often from my supervisors as well. I’ve tried to discuss with my boss the potential for some compensation, but the request was dismissed because my contract did not explicitly call for me to use it outside of work hours. However, both clients and my superiors continually contact me on my cellphone. I was even asked to put my cell number on my business card. Am I required to do this and if not, how can I respectfully set limitations?

To read the answer, click here: Dilemma of the Month: Professional Work on Your Personal Cell

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Judith February 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

And this is why employee representation (aka unions) is valuable – to help employees negotiate working conditions with employers who believe that since they pay you, you are to do their bidding whenever and wherever. The reason an industry norm of unending availability developed likely has something to do with employees being job scared. Yes, there are those over achievers and those who don’t have a life and so are willing to answer anyone at any time. In the beginning, however; there probably were a number of employees who answered because they felt intimidated and thought they might be fired if they didn’t allow themselves to be abused by their employers. Yes, this is abuse. There are very few issues which cannot wait to be resolved during usual business hours. I promise, the earth will not stop spinning because an email was sent at 8A instead of 8P, the night before. Now, if we talk deadlines, then the planning for those deadlines needs to be developed so, again, reasonableness is at play rather than frantic reaction. I’m curious why employees believe they should provide the material tools to do their job in today’s world when in the past this was not the case. We didn’t provide our own ledger paper or box of red pencils for the office even if we had a supply at home so why do we feel it is appropriate for an employer to tag onto our cell phone plan and blur the line between our work time and our “off” time?


Antonia Siemaszko February 5, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Also I have an issue with bring your own device requirements. What do they have the right to do if I leave the company, can they force me to wipe my entire phone? Can they take it and make sure every contact is individually deleted? Are they allowed to tell me I can’t sideload books or other items? I have been told by a friend

I tend to set my computer security to “raging paranoia,” the mere idea that some company can control the content of my personally paid for property, just no. I would however be willing to add a line to my contract if they paid for 100% of that individual line.

Also my phone number is not local to where I am, are they allowed to tell me I have to change a number I’ve had for over 15 years?

No I’m convinced that companies MUST A: pay for 100% of business use, and B: that use must be a separate line.


Slippy February 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

If you are just taking calls then generally they should not be able to justify confiscating your phone or removing data. However if you are doing work on your phone and/or signed the BYOD policy agreement then they can do pretty much whatever they want.

Hint: Phones other than iPhones and blackberries are more likely to be damaged if the company tries to remove something due to a lack of standardization of the Android OS between manufacturers and phone carriers.

Moral of the story – Buy a clamshell phone for work and if they want more they get to pay for the upgrade.


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