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Do You Have a Bring Your Own Device Policy?

Do you allow your employees to work from their personal iPhones, iPads, or other mobile devices?

If yes, do you know how you would respond if an employee lost that device or had it stolen?

If no, you should consider drafting a Bring Your Own Device ("BYOD") policy.

As more and more employees have mobile devices that allow them to e-mail, access the web, and download and edit documents, more and more employers are permitting employees to use these personal devices for work purposes.  The arrangement benefits both the employees and the employer.  Employees only have to worry about one device; employers save money by not having to purchase a separate work device for employees.

Despite the obvious benefits, there are also potential liabilities that an employer should be thinking about and attempting to minimize.  The example, above, of a stolen device with company proprietary information on it is only one scenario.  Employers need to also protect against employees using their mobile devices to visit unsafe websites or while driving.  A good BYOD policy will help limit the company's liability.

When drafting a BYOD policy, you should, at least:
*    Require that anti-virus software be installed.
*    Determine whether the company will pay for any of the device's services, such as data usage or text messaging.
*    Determine how the company will handle a device that gets lost or stolen.
*    Prohibit the use of the device while in unsafe work situations (construction sites, operating heavy-machinery, etc.) or while driving.
*    Prohibit the use of the device's camera to record or disseminate pictures of the private areas of an individual's body and/or any other pictures that violate the company's harassment policy.
*    Require that employees maintain the confidentiality of employer trade secrets and proprietary information.
*    Reserve the right to monitor, view or search the employee's device.
*    Determine how the company will handle a device if an employee is terminated.

As you have seen in previous weekly ETTs, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") has repeatedly struck down employer policies (Social Media, Internet, E-mail) for infringing on employee rights.  The NLRB's decisions also apply to BYOD policies.  Thus, any policy must be consistent with Federal law.

If you need assistance with drafting or reviewing a BYOD policy to make sure that it is compliant with the law, contact a member of MacDonald Illig's Emerging Technologies or Labor and Employment Practice Groups.  Also, if you know of someone who might be interested in receiving these weekly updates, contact vmadden@mijb.com.