Labor and Employment Law

Ca. Labor & Emp't Rev. July 2018, Volume 32 No. 4

MCLE Self-Study: Managing the Legal Risks Inherent in BYOD to Work Policies

By Tyler M. Paetkau

Tyler M. Paetkau is a partner in the Silicon Valley office of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP. He represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He can be reached at and (650) 645-9027.


It was probably inevitable that most employers would adopt "bring your own device" (BYOD) to work policies in light of the proliferation of smartphones, iPads, laptops, tablets, and other portable electronic devices. It is expensive and often impractical for employers to purchase portable devices for employees’ work use. BYOD to work policies are far more efficient and practical. Employees are now accustomed to using their personal devices at the workplace, and while at work taking breaks to shop online, post Yelp reviews, check the hockey scores, and conduct other personal business. But employers should make no mistake: they are inviting a host of legal and practical problems by allowing—and in some cases encouraging and requiring—employees to use their own personal devices for work. This article summarizes the emerging legal and practical problems with BYOD to work policies, then offers some practical suggestions for employers to manage and mitigate the legal risks inherent in such policies.

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