Can an employer demand that you now are available 24/7 on call and you must use your personal electronics (cell phone and computer) to perform business activities?

Asked on November 13, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

For most jobs, there is no upper limit for how many hours an employee can be "on call" (except for certain regulated fields where safety is an issue, such as truck drivers, airline pilots and the like). That having been said, the employee must be paid for any hours they actually work.
Additionally, an employer can force an employee to use their personal cell phone, computer, etc. for business. Further, an employer is not obligated to reimburse them for such use although it is certainly able to should it choose. That having been said, if the employee is not reimbursed, they may be able to claim some of the cost of the phone as a business expense and take a deduction.
The fact is that an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment as they see fit or deems necessary. So unless the employee has rights regarding any of the above that are set out in company policy, a union agreement or employment contract, they must abide by their employer's requests. Also, the employee's treatment must not be the result of any form of actionable discrimination.

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