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Human Resources

Use of Cell Phones

Date: March 2010

Policy: This policy outlines the use of personal cell phones at work, the personal use of business and/or personal cell phones and the policy regarding the safe use of cell phones by employees.

Personal Cellular Phones
While at work, employees are expected to exercise discretion in using personal cellular phones. Personal calls during the work hours, regardless of the phone used can interfere with employee productivity, safety and may be distracting to others. Employees are encouraged to make personal calls during breaks and lunch and to ensure that friends and family members are aware of the College’s policy. (The College will not be liable for the loss of personal cellular phones brought into the workplace. Cellular telephones may not be used to defame, harass, intimidate, or threaten any other person.) Employees are prohibited from using their cell phones in any illegal, illicit or offensive manner.

Personal Use of College-Provided Communication Devices
Where job or business needs demand immediate access to an employee a department may authorize issue of a business cell phone, beeper and/or two-way radio for work-related communications. In order to protect the employee from incurring a tax liability for the personal use of equipment, such equipment should be used for business reasons.

All employees understand that while some de minimis personal use is inevitable, a College provided phone is intended for business calls only. Call summary reports (i.e. number of minutes used) are distributed to supervisors on a periodic basis and are to be reviewed for reasonableness. Employees will reimburse the College for any overage charges related to personal calls. The call detail records generated from assigned cell phones are considered records of the College and may, on occasion, be subject to internal and outside audits by the College and/or official agencies.

Employees in possession of College equipment (e.g., cellular phones, pagers, radios, etc.) are expected to protect the equipment from loss, damage or theft. Upon resignation, termination of employment, or at any time upon request, the employee will be asked to produce the equipment for return or inspection. Employees unable to present the equipment in good working condition within a reasonable time period (i.e., 24 hours) will bear the cost of a replacement. Employees who separate from employment with outstanding debts for equipment loss or unauthorized charges will be considered to have left employment on unsatisfactory terms and may be subject to legal action for recovery of the loss. Any outstanding debt will be deducted from the employee’s final pay check.

For additional information about cell phone use, please reference the Cell Phone Policy in the Bowdoin Finance Policy Manual.

Cellular Phone Use while Operating a Vehicle
Employees whose job responsibilities include driving or equipment operation should refrain from using their phone/communication device while driving a Bowdoin vehicle or while driving any other vehicle (rented, leased, borrowed, or their own vehicle) while conducting Bowdoin business.

Drivers shall comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding the use of mobile technology devices including cell phones. Incoming or outgoing cellular phone calls are not allowed while driving. Sending or reading text messages, emails, dialing cellular phones, viewing television, videos, or DVD’s and inputting data into laptop computers, personal digital assistants or navigation systems are prohibited while driving. The cellular phone voicemail feature should be on to store incoming calls while driving and all message retrievals and calls should be made after the vehicle is safely parked.

If acceptance of a call is unavoidable and pulling over is not an option, employees are expected to keep the call short, use hands-free options if available, refrain from complicated or emotional discussions and keep their eyes on the road. Special care should be taken in situations where there is traffic, inclement weather, or the employee is driving in an unfamiliar area.

In situations where job responsibilities include regular driving and acceptance of business calls, hands-free equipment may be provided to facilitate the provisions of this policy. Executive vehicles are furnished with hands-free cellular equipment. Under no circumstances are employees required to place themselves at risk to fulfill business needs.

Driving while distracted in the State of Maine is a moving violation (Sec. 1. 29-A MRSA §2117). Accidents incurred while the driver is using a cellular phone may be considered to be preventable and the driver may be subject to disciplinary action. Employees who are charged with traffic violations resulting from the use of their phone while driving will be responsible for all financial liabilities (fines associated with citations) that result from such actions.

Failure to follow this policy may result in disciplinary action, including and up to termination.