Can an employer in NY legally require one employee to give up their cell phone during work hours but not others?

I work in a small office in Rochester, NY.  Company policy states that all employees are required to put their cell phones on the door of the book keeper's office during work hours.  We are able to use them during our regular break times.  There is one girl who is allowed to have her cell phone all day and use it while she should be working.  There is also a man who has a watch that connects to his phone.  Management recently made sure that all internet capable personal devices were able to access the company wifi.  The man with the watch plays on it all day instead of doing his work.  Can they legally reprimand up to termination another employee for failing to comply with their policy?  Would this be considered discrimination since the same rules don't apply to everyone equally?

5 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    Not if there isn't a union. No union, you are employed at will and can be terminated for NO reason. Fairness is not required. It would only be discrimination if it can be proved that all members of a federally-protected class are being treated differently. For example, if you are of a certain race and you are punished for doing something another employee of the same race is allowed to get away with, you have no case for discrimination based on race.

  • 1 month ago

    Discrimination is nearly always legal UNLESS it is discrimination based on gender, religion, race, etc. Discrimination for nearly any other reason is legal.

    • Renee1 month agoReport

      Being that my need for my personal cell phone is due to a medical life or death situation for my child, I wonder if that would be a protected class for discrimination. We are waiting for a kidney to come available for desperately needed transplant.

  • 1 month ago

    Yes, they can do that.

  • 1 month ago

    While it might be discrimination, it's not illegal discrimination, and yes, they can reprimand or even fire you if you violate their policy.

    If a co-worker plays on his phone all day, the extent that you can do is report it to his manager. Management may have no problem with him playing on his watch. It's their decision whether they're willing to pay him for not working or not. Your job is to do your job.

    Yes, it doesn't sound fair, but nothing in life is going to be fair.

    • Little Princess
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      If your employer doesn't allow you to receive medical emergency calls, you should consider finding employment elsewhere.

      It's not as bad as it sounds. The economy is doing well. There are more positions needed to be filled than there are people seeking work.

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  • 1 month ago

    Guess what kid, there's nothing illegal about what's happening here. I'm really sorry that you can't play with your phone all day, but that's life.

    • Renee1 month agoReport

      My reason for needing access to my personal cell phone at all times is a matter of a child's life and death, not a game! My son has waited years for a kidney transplant as his health has deteriorated. Your childish sarcasm is not appreciated. I hope you will think before you speak in the future.

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