Q. We’ve had it with all the texting and social networking by employees when they’re supposed to be working. Can we just make them check their electronic devices at the door? Telling them to stop when we catch them isn’t working. — J.P., Wisconsin
A. An employer can require its employees to check their electronic devices at the door, but you will then be responsible for their security. Also, while you can limit employees from using electronic devices during working hours, you’d have to allow use during breaks.
Instead, you could try to modify the employees’ conduct. Revise or create a policy that clearly states employees are responsible for working while they are on company time. Include a progressive disciplinary component, explaining that violations will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Enforce the policy consistently. Issue disciplinary notices of increasing severity. Distribute a copy of the policy to all employees and review the policy with the supervisors and employees.