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Focus on company cell phones: who is liable? – If the company cell phone breaks or is lost while on vacation | message


If something happens to the company cell phone, the question of liability always arises. Who has to pay for the damage caused? The circumstances of the incident and the employee’s rights of use play a role here.

When the company cell phone breaks

You’re on vacation at the beach or pool and your smartphone falls into the water. The company cell phone is then defective. Was the employee even allowed to take the mobile phone with them on vacation? The labor lawyer Jürgen Markowski explains in an article in the Handelsblatt that it is forbidden to take a smartphone with you – if it is intended solely for business use. Because the phone is only intended for work and has no place in your private vacation. The employee must therefore be liable for the damage. However, if constant on-call duty is required or private use is permitted, the damage is usually borne by the employer. Only if the employee has acted with gross negligence or intent, the liability is transferred to him again.

If the company cell phone is lost

Far more serious than a broken cell phone is a lost or stolen cell phone. In this case, the damage goes far beyond the material value of the smartphone. Most likely, there is sensitive company-internal data on the mobile phone that should not get into the hands of third parties. The loss represents a threat to the entire business. In the worst case, the company is targeted by hackers and cyber criminals. Their attacks and extortion usually cause high costs. If the employee acted with gross negligence when the cell phone was lost, he must be liable for the entire damage. In order to minimize the risk of data theft, business files should be protected with passwords as a precaution. Various apps also offer remote control of the smartphone so that it can be locked after it is stolen. In addition, the company information can be deleted afterwards in this way. Employees with a company cell phone should also check whether their liability insurance covers the loss so that those affected are not left with a fine. editorial team

Image Sources: Farknot Architect /

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