I am an exempt employee required to respond to phone calls and emails on a 24/7 basis. Can my employer require me to pay for and use my personal smartphone for business-related communications? Do I have to make my private smartphone number public?

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I am an exempt employee required to respond to phone calls and emails on a 24/7 basis. Can my employer require me to pay for and use my personal smartphone for business-related communications? Do I have to make my private smartphone number public?

My employer provides a company-owned and issued smartphone for my use and pays a monthly stipend for the cost of the phone service. If I am notified that company-owned phones will be terminated and I will be expected to utilize and make available my personal smartphone and smartphone number to anyone who needs to reach me by phone or email at any time related to work, can my employer require me to do this? Thank you.

Asked on December 5, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer can require you to do this, that is unless you have an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary. The reason is that most work relationships are "at will" so company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination. If you fail to follow your employer's instruction you can be terminated for this. In fact, you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.


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