"Outlaw" is a strong word; unless you have a company cell phone, your company can't tell you what apps you can or can't use at work. However, your company can require you to use these apps on your own time and not for company purposes. At the very least, you need to be on the lookout for company policies that restrict the use of certain apps and understand how they can affect you and your position before you become the person who gets to be the example.
- Gossip Apps. Companies can't legally restrict the use of gossip apps, but before you begin complaining about your employer on one of these, you should understand the privacy risks that seemingly anonymous apps and services represent-ahem, Ashley Madison-and also what constitutes concerted activity if your comments are brought to the attention of your company. Discussions about wages, hours and working conditions between you and other coworkers are protected. Your average rant may not be.
- Dating Apps. Many of the new dating apps help singles find love based on a number of criteria, among them proximity. This makes office romances more likely if you're using this app at work. However, before you swipe right, you need to know what your company's policies on dating in the workplace are, especially if you and your match are not equals in the company. Also worthy of note is that if you're the type that doesn't tend to take no for an answer, your continued advances could be reframed as harassment.
- Sharing Economy Apps. Are you traveling for business or pleasure? If it's a business trip, you may want to shut down your Uber and AirBnB apps. These unregulated convenience providers represent more risk for companies and so you may not be able to get reimbursed for your expenses when you use them. Before you travel, make sure you know which service providers you can reimbursed for on a business trip, and which services may not be worth taking a chance on.
- Data storage Apps. Apps like Dropbox can make it easy to access files while on vacation, but for employers, they can present serious risk for security issues and even violations of the National Fair Labor Standards Act, since nonexempt employees are not allowed to be required to workoutside office hours without compensation. Before you take your work home, review company policies on data storage and make sure you are being compensated for your time.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.