Texting at Work? How much is ‘too much’?

Oct 31, 2022

Texting at Work?

Most employers understand that workers have personal lives and especially with young families, it is important for workers to have their mobile phones nearby to check for emergency situations and deal with them, if needed.

However, outside those real emergencies, how much texting is ‘too much’? When does the time on your phone breach your obligations to dedicate your time and attention to work responsibilities?

The Fair Work Commission recently upheld the decision of an employer to dismiss an employee due to ‘excessive personal phone use’ during work hours.

The recent case of Lynda Murphy v Clear Day Pty Ltd [2022] FWC 373 involved the employee using her phone excessively for personal use. Although the employer did not follow the correct procedure of giving written warnings and counselling her, the Fair Work Commission upheld the decision of the employer as NOT UNFAIR. The worker failed in her claim for unfair dismissal.

As Ms Murphy was unable to provide adequate explanation for the excessive texting to the Commission, it was concluded that even if the employer had followed correct procedures and requested explanation from her, the level of texting was such that it could not have been explained or justified by her at that stage.

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