News

Sexting concerns

Workplace trend prompts warnings to employees

published in The Oklahoman | October 11, 2009

McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Tony Puckett was interviewed for an Oklahoman feature about potential problems, including sexual harassment claims, that can result from employees texting on the job.

Several states, not including Oklahoma, have pending cases or statutes resulting from sexting, a form a texting involving sexually explicit messages or photos. “Like misuse of e-mail, sexting presents a new form of electronic harassment,” Puckett said. Also like emailing, texting doesn’t convey tone, making texts subject to misinterpretation.  One Oklahoma employer decided several years ago to take proactive steps and prohibits employees from using cell phones on the job.

“Workers also mistakenly think their personal cell phones are their private business,” Puckett said, but he told the Oklahoman that text messages are traceable and phone companies can document the time and day texts are sent and received. According to Puckett, if a co-worker complains, employers have the obligation to investigate. Cell phone records can be subpoenaed, and employees can lose their job.