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Pokémon Go craze triggers warning from employment expert

02/08/2016

It’s the latest craze to sweep the country taking people into a world of augmented reality as they try to capture, battle and train virtual creatures. 

But the meteoric rise in the popularity of Pokémon Go is already causing a headache for employers, according to one Midlands lawyer.

Tracy Worthington, an employment specialist with FBC Manby Bowdler, said the firm was already aware of employees facing disciplinary hearings for allegations of playing Pokémon Go whilst at work.

She said employers needed to act quickly to ensure their business doesn’t suffer if employees are spending time playing the game instead of working.

“There are various problems for businesses such as disruption caused by characters being located on their premises, although some businesses such as cafes and pubs are cashing in on this to attract customers!” she explained.

“Another potential implication for employers is employees becoming so hooked on the craze they can’t stop playing the game. This may particularly affect home or mobile workers including those who have to drive.

“It really ought to go without saying that this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will be treated as misconduct, leading to disciplinary action being taken. However, if an employer is particularly concerned, they should consider making a pre-emptive statement to reinforce this to their staff.

“Most importantly, any suspected incidents of staff playing the game whilst working should be promptly investigated and appropriate disciplinary action taken.”

If disciplinary action becomes a possibility, employers must also make sure that they are complying with data protection rules, warned Amber. 

“For example, if the employer has tracking devices installed on company vehicles that might help them gather evidence to support such allegations that an employee was taking unnecessary detours. 

“It is important to ensure that employees are aware of any tracking devices and that data is processed in line with a data protection policy,” she added.

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