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Enforced requirement to use own private phone at work


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Greetings! Now this might seem a bit petty, yet it has become a real issue for not just me but a lot of my co-workers too. I'd be really grateful to get a steer on the legality from an Employment Law angle.

 

I work as a delivery driver, (relatively niche and B2B), small-ish business but we have contracts with public sector. 

 

The new boss has set up a Whatsapp group that all drivers MUST join so he can message "in the moment" things which need to change/be sorted/etc. 

 

I don't have an issue with that per se. However he is now saying we MUST use our phones to telephone him if we are running late due to traffic or any other eventuality on the road. And it is this I (and a few others) have problem with.

 

My phone is PAYG and it costs me to telephone, as a lot of places we go don't have internet data signal so can't use Whatsapp. In addition to this I guess it just bugs me that we get told off if we don't report everything at the time using MY phone, MY credit. Another guy at work has an old phone Nokia with just call/text potential, as he's a bit of a technophobe. This is starting to cause him "back-biting" "dark looks" "snide comments" pressure from bossman too.

 

There is NOTHING in our original employment contracts which require us to have a personal mobile phone as part of the condition of service. None of us are allowed to be in a union before anyone asks. (legally of course we could be, however it's been made clear we'd be shown the door quite quickly if we tried it).

 

In every other respect the job is perfect for me, and I have no desire to leave. I actually get on quite well with the boss too! It's just this one point that is starting to annoy us all.  I don't want to be the one who sticks a target on my back by broaching the topic. I, and all the other's are instantly replaceable with 1 week's notice. 

 

Want me to contact you officially during work hours? Give me a work phone!

Want me to use my own phone? Pay my phone bill!

 

- I know it's minor; yet really starting to be an issue, and the urge to use my phone on him for a purpose it wasn't designed for is growing strong! 

 

Any legal eagles out there who can give me the skinny on where I stand? Ta. 

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Erm l am no expert but l am sure you cant be fired for being in a union.

 

Also l am sure that you cant be made to use your personal mobile to contact the boss please remember it is illegal to use your phone while driving unless hands free.

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WWW.GOV.UK

Joining a union and getting recognition for collective bargaining and agreements - legal rules about membership, union reps and your rights

 

Quite common for some employers to expect staff to use their own mobile phone for the reasons you have mentioned.

 

But they would have to repay staff for the costs incurred, so ask what information your employers require to handle the expense claims.  Any problems with this, contact ACAS

 

WWW.ACAS.ORG.UK

Contact details for Acas, including phone numbers to call our helpline, training and other Acas services.

 

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28 minutes ago, The GodMother said:

Erm l am no expert but l am sure you cant be fired for being in a union.

 

Also l am sure that you cant be made to use your personal mobile to contact the boss please remember it is illegal to use your phone while driving unless hands free.

No of course I wasn't saying I'd be fired for joining a union. However we're all adults here. I'm sure you get what I mean. 

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Well from what you said l guess it would be fired due to this " however it's been made clear we'd be shown the door quite quickly if we tried it"

 

 

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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further to what @unclebulgaria67 has said maybe put it in writing and ask for a in writing reply. 

Make sure you also query who will pay for any damage to phone should anything happen during working hours. Who would be responsible for any loss of phone during working hours eg stolen from van or truck during working hours. 

 

 

 

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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From looking online nothing in law says they can or can not. 

Just that they need to decide if they provide and pay for or ofvthey ask you and reimburse you. 

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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In some industries - building trade for example - it's common for employees to provide some of their own equipment (I am assuming you are an employee not self-employed) and there's nothing illegal in principle with employers requiring employees to provide and use their own equipment. 

 

The issue it seems to me isn't about what is legal but about what the contract of employment says. Sounds like your contract makes no mention of having to provide your own phone, or who pays the costs. Your employer is, in effect, now changing your employment contract without your consent. Have a search online for "can employer change contract of employment" and there's lot of advice. The gist of it, unfortunately, is that in theory the employer can't change the contract unilaterally but if they do your options in practice are limited unless you decide it matters enough to you to walk away. 

 

Incidentally, if they won't reimburse you for call costs those costs would be tax deductible by you, although I appreciate that's not much of a consolation in your situation.

 

Tagging @Emmzziwho is very knowledgeable on employment matters.

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I agree with previous posters who state you should be reimbursed.

 

However as " I don't want to be the one who sticks a target on my back by broaching the topic" I think you have no recourse. This won't get fixed by keeping quiet.

 

I'd probably chance my mitt by popping in an expenses claim. Boss might just think you are all on uncapped minutes contracts, not PAYG. He can only say no.

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