Josh Bouk

Josh Bouk | July 09, 2015 |


Essential BYOD Legal Considerations

Essential BYOD Legal Considerations Understanding how the courts see communications conducted via personal devices for work purposes is growing in importance as the BYOD trend continues.

Understanding how the courts see communications conducted via personal devices for work purposes is growing in importance as the BYOD trend continues.

Many legal concerns surface when implementing a BYOD program. Recent court decisions, however, offer a blueprint for avoiding some of the more common pitfalls.

Device wiping, for example, is a crucial issue to consider. If business data is not stored separately from the user's personal data, the employer's only option is to wipe the entire device clean. But personal devices, by their very nature, contain personal data, like pictures, emails and contacts -- and employers can encounter serious risks when they remove that personal property from an employee's device.

For guidance on device wiping, we can look to Rajaee v. Design Tech Homes, Ltd. In this case, a district court found that personal data stored on an iPhone is not protected by the Electronics Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). However, the court did not rule on the plaintiff's state claims, which included violations of the Texas Theft Liability Act, negligence and conversion. Given this, the employer is not in the clear yet.

Closely related is the issue of privacy. In Garcia v. City of Laredo, Tex., a former police dispatcher claimed her cell phone was accessed without her permission while in an unlocked locker in the Laredo Police Department. The lawsuit was premised on violations of the Stored Communications Act (SCA), which outlines privacy protections for email and other digital communications stored on the Internet. Here, however, the district court relied on an earlier decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in determining that the SCA "does not apply to data stored in a personal cell phone."

Along those lines, in Lazette v. Kulmatycki, a former Verizon employee (Lazette) alleged that her former supervisor read thousands of her personal email messages (some of which she had never opened herself) by accessing the corporate-owned BlackBerry device she had recently turned back in to the company. In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court emphasized the email account -- not the device itself -- was subject to the SCA, so denied the motion regarding the violation related to the unopened emails (those first opened by the supervisor), as they were on the email provider's servers and, therefore, in "electronic storage" before being opened.

In the event of a lawsuit, companies may be required to produce records, including employee emails and text messages. Courts take a strong stand if that property -- or electronic information -- is destroyed or otherwise not produced. In Small v. Univ. Med. Ctr. of S. Nev., the special master appointed by the court to hear issues pertaining to discovery found the defendant failed to properly issue and maintain a litigation hold (a directive to preserve potentially relevant evidence). The devices under the defendant's BYOD policy alone resulted in the destruction of over two years of messages and other information. The relevancy of that data can only be speculated, but the prejudice to the plaintiffs was real, leading the special master to recommend that the court enter an order of default judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.

In terms of BYOD, though, no case has been discussed more than Cochran v. Schwan's Home Service, Inc. (read related post, Court Puts Employers on Notice About Mobile Use). In the class action case, the court, relying on Section 2802 of California's Labor Code, ruled that an employer must reimburse employees for the mandatory use of their personal cell phone for work-related purposes -- whether or not any additional expense is incurred by the employee.

While a court's ruling in one state is not binding on another state's court, these cases are instructive and, in some instances, involve a federal statute that is binding on every state. And while nothing can guarantee absolute protection from litigation, organizations that commit to employee education, openness, and diligence in their compliance processes will be less likely to see the inside of a court. To accomplish that, companies should seriously consider:

  1. Establishing a policy that separately addresses devices owned by the company and those owned by the employee (BYOD)
  2. Employing a user-friendly Web platform for self-service enrollment, registration and policy acceptance
  3. Paying employees a subsidy for use of their own personal devices
  4. Relying on BYOD experts to help develop the policy and manage the program

Josh Bouk is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Expense Management Division of Cass Information Systems.


April 25, 2018

Yesterdays simple phone call to a contact center or business location is rapidly becoming todays interactive session, spanning multiple channels and devices. If you need to know how Omnichannel can

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.