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Employee Cell Phones: Can We Ban Them?


What are the laws regarding cell phones at work? Personal use by our employees has gotten out of hand. Can we change our policy to say that cell phones are not permitted on the premises?

Thank you for your question. I can certainly understand the frustration of having employees on their phones frequently and the need to implement a policy to limit this use. There is no law saying you cannot implement a policy prohibiting cell phones on the property, but I would recommend a different approach.

Banning cell phones from the property would likely decrease employee morale as there are times (e.g., break times or family emergencies) when employees may need to be able to make or take personal calls. Instead of restricting phones altogether, you could instead restrict cell phone use to break times and to designate areas away from employee workstations where an employee can make those phone calls.

In either situation, eliminating all calls or restricting use, you will want to address how your employee’s family members will reach them during working hours in case of a true emergency. One option is to have the calls filter through your reception desk. Alternately, it may be a good idea to have a second line to your company that is for employee emergencies.

Whatever you decide, you need to hold your employees accountable to the standards you set. Employees who fail to adhere to these standards should be disciplined according to your policy.


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