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Ask the Lawyer: September 2011

We have staff members who use cell phones even though we have a policy saying it is not allowed. What should I do?

This is a clear case of having a policy in place which cannot be enforced. It is very tough in this technology-run world to enforce a "No Cell Phone" policy when they have become so essential to life. Review the policy to see if it can be revised to be more enforceable, such as only using cell phones on breaks or in emergency situations; only using cell phones in office or break area; banning use in patient care area; or that they must be kept on "vibrate".

Another answer may be enforcement of your policy as it is. Some practices find it creates a better environment. Remember - if you implement this strict policy, you must also follow it; otherwise, it can create some real moral problems with staff.

The most important thing is to make sure the policy is enforced. Plaintiff attorneys like to point out inconsistencies in employee handbooks to show how policies are not fairly applied.

This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The information contained in this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between Karen McKeithen Schaede Attorney at Law, PLLC and the reader.

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