Employers who do not yet have cell phone policies should look no further than the tragic train crash that occurred in Spain earlier this summer. The train operator was using his cell phone at the time of the high-speed crash that claimed the lives of 79 people.
Given the proliferation of the cell phone, workers are understandably tempted to remain "connected" while on the job. At the same time, business more frequently occurs outside of the office via smart phones and other technology. A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey revealed that drivers cite work-related communications as a reason to use cell phones while driving.
While cell phones may improve productivity, cell phone use behind the wheel not only increases the injury risk for employees, but also could result in employer liability. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be held legally responsible for the negligence of its employee, if the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time of the crash.
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