Why You Shouldn’t Require your Employees Check Email After Hours


Entrepreneurs don't really get the luxury of "unplugging" or unwinding, but that doesn't mean you should require that same manic pace of your underlings. Let them ditch the off-hours email.

Not only is it expensive in terms of draining your precious free time, but a new law passed in Brazil also allows workers who are required to answer email in their off-hours can qualify for overtime.

So, are you sure that email really can't wait until the morning?

According to the AP, the law passed in December, and while Brazil seems awful far away, this issue has roots pretty close to home: In May 2010, Chicago policeman Jeffrey Allen filed a class-action suit against the city, asking for unpaid overtime compensation. From the suit:

Plaintiff and similarly situated employees were issued personal data assistants ("PDA's"), such as BlackBerry devices, that they are required to use outside their normal working hours without receiving any compensation for such hours. Defendant’s deliberate failure to compensate its Chicago Police Department employees for these hours worked violates federal law as set forth in FSLA.

If it can happen in Brazil, and it can happen with the CPD, it can happen in your business. And remember, just because iPhones are always connected to the Internet doesn't mean they always have to be on. They actually can be turned off, you know. 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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