Can an employer regulate personal activities performed between calls?

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Can an employer regulate personal activities performed between calls?

Working in a 24 hour inbound call center there are often periods of downtime between phone calls. Employees are required to remain at their desks with a headset at all times to receive calls. Can an employer prohibit activities such as reading, crosswords, ebook readers, personal smart phones, etc. between calls?

Asked on August 13, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Absent an employment/union agreement to the contrary, existing company policy prohibiting this action, or some form of actionable discrimination as a factor, this type of regulation is perfectly legal. In an "at Will" employment relationship an employee can choose to work for an employer or not; it's their choice. In turn, an employer can hire/fire or promote/demote/, or increase/decrease either salary/wages, and impose any other term of employment as it deems fit. 


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