Employment Law

Can your boss take your phone away?: Employment lawyer on 640 Toronto

Interview Summary

A story regarding an employee in the U.S. working at a fast-food restaurant recently led to questions regarding whether or not an employer can confiscate their staff’s devices. Is an employer legally permitted to do this in Canada? Are employers able to terminate employees for using their cell phones during regular work hours?

Aaron Levitin, an employment lawyer and Associate at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP joined 640 Toronto’s  Kelly Cutrara to answer these questions and more regarding employee rights.

Interview Notes

  • Employment laws regarding confiscating phones: Levitin commented that this is not an issue he has personally had experience with. “I’ve not had Canadian employees come to me with this specific issue.” Levitin went on to explain that companies should have policies in place regarding the use of cell phones at work.
  • Clarity of policy: “The policy should be expressly clear. Employers are responsible for drafting the policy and presenting it to the employees,” Levitin stated. Levitin went on to state that employers should refrain from physically removing a phone from an employee and continue to abide by the policy set in place.
  • Requesting employees give up their phones: Levitin cautioned employers against asking employees to give up their phones. “As long as there is a policy in place, such as a warning letter or a second warning, verbal warning, progressive discipline etc. This would be a more appropriate way of disciplining.”

Related Resources

For further insights and discussions related to employee rights, explore the following resources:

Social media policies
Electronic monitoring in the workplace

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