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Pokémon Go - an Employer Dilemma?

Pokémon Go has taken the United States and the rest of the world by storm with an estimated 75 million downloads in the first three (3) weeks of its release. For the uninitiated (like the author), Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game, where users try to capture, train, and battle digitally animated creatures on their mobile devices. The author has more than enough trouble battling real life creatures than delving into animated adversaries!

Because users of the game have to pay strict attention to their phones, iPads, or other mobile devices, there have been instances where some people have, in fact, been injured or been accused of trespassing. Obviously, as Pokémon Go continues, it will have an effect on the workplace and Employers must be prepared to respond.

In a recent Forbes survey, a little over 30% of the respondents admitted that they played Pokémon Go for at least one (1) hour at their workplace per day. Obviously, this type of scenario would have an impact not only on productivity, but on morale, as Employees who are not involved in Pokémon Go conclude that they are not being fairly treated or "Joe/Mary is getting away with too much". The author will admit that there can be no "One Size Fits All Policy" for Pokémon Go in the workplace, but each Employer must decide on how it wants to deal with this fact and make certain that their enforcement of any Policy will be consistent for all Employees.

Of particular concern to any Employer should be developing a Policy on whether or not individual Employees can use their "Employer supplied devices" for participation in Pokémon Go. There have been, and continue to be, issues that are being raised with regard to security risks, including the possibility of data breaches. Those "data breaches" will involve Employer information if Pokémon Go is allowed to be pursued on Employer controlled devices. In point of fact, the International Association of IT Asset Managers has indicated that it would be in the best interest of all companies "to ban the installation and use of Pokémon Go on corporate devices". Each Employer must consider how it wishes to proceed with regard to the Pokémon Go craze. It certainly will not abate in the near future and, as the old adage establishes, "an ounce of preparation beats a pound of cure".

Questions? Contact Attorney Walter J. Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at waliszka@wesselssherman.com.

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