[UNC Fellows 2015] FW: [nclgisa] Email access for nonexempt staff

Gray Cassell GCassell at toknc.com
Wed Nov 25 10:56:22 EST 2015

Good Morning everyone. I am forwarding this short email thread to you for your opinion. Have you all come across this at your location and if so, what are your plans to address it?


Gray Cassell, CGCIO
Chief Information Officer
Town of Kernersville, North Carolina, USA
Office: (336) 992-0406, Cell: (336) 414-1551

From: Gray Cassell
Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 10:54 AM
To: 'The nclgisa mailing list' <nclgisa at listserv.unc.edu>
Subject: RE: [nclgisa] Email access for nonexempt staff

Good Morning Greg. We are having that same internal discussion here and I don't have a perfect solution to share. Even our HR consultant is still formulating opinions on this.

I've said it many times and I stand by this: technology can rarely fix personnel issues. We do not restrict our employees form connecting to their work email from their personal devices. While we could possibly correlate when a user is doing that and even possibly restrict that, one must weigh the cost of administering that verses the completeness of its effectiveness. I really don't see the value in trying to stop that activity. There are other ways for the person to access email such as webpage connection via OWA and as you mention O365.

The consensus here seems to be to put together a policy that is reasonable and enforceable with consideration for "de minimis" use being excluded from compensation. We have not determined in whole what that means yet but are leaning toward the idea of participatory use of email outside of work hours being eligible for compensation upon preapproval of a supervisor.

The idea of de minimis use, in my view, is if a person simply reads email without responding at length. Responding with an "Ok" or "I understand" or "I'll be there shortly" would all be de minimis use... again, just my opinion here. However if the supervisor has discussed the use txt and email and phone calls outside of normal work hours as a possibility, and the conversation at hand is more in-depth and two-way, then that would warrant compensation. For example, if I txt my direct report with a question about how to fix something and he provides details and we correspond back and forth until the issue is resolved, even though that might be only a matter of a few minutes, I feel that is to be recorded in the time keeping system and to be compensated.

We provide comp time in most departments while some still pay overtime.

The idea of ubiquitous access to work related information and the mixing of personal lives and professional lives makes it very difficult to apply an 85 year old law to say the least. As with any policy, writing a good one is important but does not stop the behavior. It may however help to support the employer's position should there be a question down the road.

On a side bar... what does it say to the employee that is trying to provide great customer service to our customers if we tell them to not respond to requests for service outside the formal working hours? Our approach should be to give the fantastic customer service by responding, while ensuring we record the time worked. If they are not recording the time, we will address that behavior while maintaining the "high level of service" attitude.

Gray Cassell, CGCIO
Chief Information Officer
Town of Kernersville, North Carolina, USA
Office: (336) 992-0406, Cell: (336) 414-1551

From: Greg Powers [mailto:Greg.Powers at townofcary.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 8:21 AM
To: The nclgisa mailing list <nclgisa at listserv.unc.edu<mailto:nclgisa at listserv.unc.edu>>
Subject: [nclgisa] Email access for nonexempt staff

Happy Thanksgiving,

We currently only allow exempt employees to have access to the Town's email and calendar resources.  This is because of the labor law that states that if nonexempt staff works outside of their scheduled work times we must reimburse them.  We currently have a policy that state that these staff members can't work outside their schedule without permission from a supervisor.  But if they still did it, they would be reprimanded.  Bottom line is we would still have to pay them.

How are other municipalities handling this?
Do you allow nonexempts to have their mail and calendar sent to their personal phones?
What, if any, policy do you implement to keep from paying for overtime?
How does this change with many organizations migrating to O365?
Since the mail will be accessible from outside the LAN, will you try to restrict access or address it at the policy level?

Drive Safe...

Greg Powers
Virtual Network Analyst
Town of Cary, Tech Serv |120 Wilkinson Ave | Cary,  NC 27513
Office: 919.462.3926
Fax: 919.319.4597
Email: greg.powers at townofcary.org<mailto:greg.powers at townofcary.org>


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