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Workplace BlackBerry Use May Spur Lawsuits
CNBC.com | July 09, 2008 | 11:10 AM EDT

Addicted BlackBerry users have already nicknamed themselves crackberrys, but lawyers are now calling the digital device in the workplace something else: A lawsuit waiting to happen.

As employers hand out electronic devices to their employees at a greater pace, there are growing concerns that workers eligible for overtime pay, known as non-exempt employees, could begin suing their employers for overtime hours earned while tapping on their devices during after-work hours. As a result, lawyers are advising their corporate clients to update their policies and handbooks related to BlackBerry use and reconsider who gets a device.

Although experts said that they are not aware of any current lawsuits, they said it's inevitable. "I'll bet anything that a lawsuit is going happen," says Robert Brady, founder and CEO of Business & Legal Reports, a company that works with human resource professionals to comply with the law.

Handheld devices like the BlackBerry, made by Research In Motion, Palm andApple's iPhone have created a 24/7 workplace that blurs the line between the ofice and home. The average professional spends 50 minutes a day sending emails after work, according to a survey conducted by Cohesive Knowledge Solutions, a company that trains companies and employees on email efficiency.

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