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DrBill's avatar

Can we resolve an office problem without punishing everyone?

Asked by DrBill (16056points) March 14th, 2010

The office has 19 employees, and most have cell phones they can use at their leisure. The problem is two employees are severely abusing the privilege by spending several hours every day on the phone when they should be working. Several people have tried to talk to them about this, but they insist there are no office rules restricting cell phone use.

If it is left up to management, they will make a rule of “No cell phone use during office hours” which will punish everyone, even those 17 who are not abusing the privilege. I would like to find a reasonable way to solve the problem without an all out ban on cell phones.

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9 Answers

davidbetterman's avatar

Fire the two misfits.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

This is a performance issue. If they’re talking on the phone, they’re not working. Approach it from that angle.

DrBill's avatar


Can’t fire a union employee without cause, and so far there is no rule against cellphone use.

dpworkin's avatar

Take them aside and explain it just the way did in your OP. It’s reasonable, and if they don’t cooperate make sure everyone knows it. Then peer-pressure may work.

jaytkay's avatar

There’s not a rule against playing tiddlywinks all day either, but you couldn’t get away with it.

They are on the clock and not working. Document it.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s not about cell phone use. It’s about phone use. Many or most offices have some kind of policy about use of company time for personal phone calls. That’s how to couch the issue and not in terms of cell phones.

CMaz's avatar

“No cell phone use during office hours”

It is not punishment, it is business.

syz's avatar

Too bad these are of questionable legality.

lilikoi's avatar

@DrBill It sounds to me like the cause is un-productivity. If they do not do the work, that seems like perfectly legitimate grounds for dismissal. I think a total ban on cellphone use could actually negatively impact the performance of the other 17 people. Agree that their time on the phone for non-work related business should be documented as proof of un-productivity and ultimately grounds for dismissal.

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