Scenario: A company requires employees to sign an agreement to not use cell phones while driving for business. Despite that, the company dispatcher regularly calls drivers on their cell phones. What’s the company’s liability if there’s a crash?
This question was posted on Boston.com. The website consulted Rachelle Green, an attorney specializing in employment law at a Providence, RI, law firm.
In a nutshell, Green says in this case, the company would probably be liable.
“It doesn’t matter how good written policies are if they are not consistently enforced,” Green said. “Courts will generally give little weight to such policies when offered in the company’s defense.”
This isn’t just Green’s opinion. She points out several courts across the country have refused to dismiss cases arising from crashes allegedly caused by employees’ work-related cell phone use. This even includes employees handling calls on the ride to and from work and not actually on the clock.
So here’s the question: What happens when you have to communicate with drivers while they’re in vehicles? Long before cell phones, truck drivers regularly communicated via CB radios. Are we just more conscious today of crashes caused when drivers are occupied with something other than driving? Have we become less willing to allow employees to take that risk? Are hands-free headsets the answer?
Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.