Can employers be liable for your BlackBerry addiction?

Can employers be liable for your BlackBerry addiction?

Summary: We are all becoming more and more connected and a Rutgers University study shows that employers have to watch their actions or they could be liable for the addiction.

TOPICS: BlackBerry

 BlackBerry 7100v.jpg

I just read a news blurb on that links to a discussion of an upcoming Rutgers University study that suggests employers may eventually be legally liable for the "BlackBerry" addiction. The key to discovering whether or not an employer is liable is whether the employer manipulates an employee for their benefit. At my day job, it is not expected that you answer emails immediately and there is absolutely no employer manipulation. However, I personally have to admit I do have an addiction with these mobile gadgets and it is very tough at times to just turn off the hosted Exchange and Bloglines spigot and get away from it all. I am sure there are employers out there that take advantage of the fact they can reach on employee on their BlackBerry 24/7 and use this to "push" the addiction the employee may have to mobile technology, but they may want to take a look at the study when it is released and start backing off a bit. Are you a CrackBerry addict?

Topic: BlackBerry

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  • What's a BlackBerry...

    ...and what does it give an employer that a cell phone (or even pager) doesn't? Can it be turned off? If so, what's the problem?

    Carl Rapson
  • A New Type of Employer Liability?

    I have recently started to compile a list of the different ?addictions? I have been reading about on some of the blogs. So far I have encountered the following dependencies: drugs, alcohol, porn, oil (as in petroleum), gambling, food, exercise, love, video games, comment addiction (i.e., checking the comments on one?s blog), window shopping, thrill seeking, yarn addiction (not a misprint!), Internet addiction, blog addiction, Technorati addiction, addiction to online gaming, information addiction, addiction to technology, MySpace addiction, knitting addiction (no joke!), addiction to Bloglines, taco addiction, stichin addiction (i.e., stitching), sex addiction, publicity addiction, and now blackberry addiction.

    While blackberry addiction isn?t seen as one of the more ?typical addictions? such as alcohol addiction or drug dependency, I do wonder what kind of withdrawal symptoms a person experiences when he or she stops using his or her blackberry ?cold turkey.?

    Back to your original point: ?Can employers be liable for your BlackBerry addiction?? If employers push this mobile technology on their employees?-especially if this ?push? is in the form of a written policies or procedures, then it seems likely that such employers can be liable for your BlackBerry addiction.

  • RE: Can employers be liable for your BlackBerry addiction?

    I tend to agree with the author's posting in it all depends on the employer's expectations regarding turnaround time. This is true of e-mail, voice mail, and even written correspondence. We all have busy lives, and if an employer expects instantaneous replies to all voice and e-mails, this is an unrealistic expectation.