California Court Ruling on Employee-Owned Mobile Device Use for Work Activities - Will the Tension Increase or Subside?

A California appellate court recently reversed a lower court ruling between Schwan Home Services and its service managers.  The new ruling on the case ( after cutting through the legal analysis basically requires Schwan to reimburse service managers for mobile communications costs incurred for work reasons when the employee is paying for their mobile phone services.  It has drawn praise from employee rights advocates but also ire from those who see businesses weighted down by more regulations.

More and more businesses are promoting working outside the office and facilitating this strategy will increasingly include mobile devices and wireless communications.  As a result, the tension between employees and employer and contractors and employers on use of personal phone for business purposes will only increase.  The challenge is finding the right tools that can manage employee owned devices.  The best tools will place little if any restrictions on employee use of their personal applications and content.  But as important, the best tools will also make it easy to separate personal voice and data services usage from business voice and data services usage.  This latter feature is not as prevalent in the market today but as shown by this recent lawsuit will become increasingly needed.  If businesses use or even at a minimum are aware of these tools, lawsuits such as Schwan vs Cochran will not even happen.

The tools outlined above are considered part of the supplier market segment called Enterprise Mobility Management services.  The supplier market varies greatly on capabilities to manage the mobile devices, apps and content when mobile devices are used in the work setting.  ABI Research does not expect the EMM supplier market to consolidate as these suppliers begin to add services to manage and control non-mobile devices such as printers, digital displays, vending machines and basically other connected machines and devices used by the business.  ABI Research provides extensive analysis of this market across devices, applications and services found in two services:;