Workplace Wire

Connecting employers to developments in labour, employment & pension law

Be careful about jumping on the “ban”-wagon


With almost unlimited access to wireless networks and the increasing availability of Wi-Fi, employees can connect to social media and the Internet practically everywhere, whether they are at work, at home or on an airplane.

Nonetheless, the use of personal electronic devices is increasingly being banned in some workplaces. But complete bans can be complicated and potentially difficult to enforce.

Employers who ban the use of these devices at work mainly do so to ensure confidentiality and/or safety in the workplace. Bans are common in manufacturing and warehousing facilities, or work environments require driving or careful attention — for example, Emergency Medical Service providers and paramedics.

As personal electronic devices become more versatile and more integrated in society, it may become more difficult for employers to monitor and enforce an all-out ban. Those with bans already struggle with this reality.

Ultimately, organisations are well-advised to determine and weigh the operational needs against the practical reality of the workplace. If a ban is not for you, consider implementing sound policies or usage agreements that manage and limit employees’ use of such devices. Also consider getting IT advice on how to attain greater security of confidential and private information. The technology is out there.

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