Ban BAND?

Organize your group on BAND! It’s the perfect group communication app. with features like the Community Board, Shared Calendar, Polls, To-Do Lists, Private Chat & much more!

– BAND App Store slug.

Employers are using messaging apps for training, verification of training, and employees are evaluated on their level of engagement. It should be paid work time.

BAND is a messaging app which is substantially similar to other apps except that it has a back end where an employer’s admins control who talks and when, what they’re talking about. They can require participation from all employees and all interactions are logged and documented.

A common way in which it’s used is to let employees know about changing workplace conditions. If, for example, a boss implements a new procedure it’s very easy to let everyone know about it. The boss also knows who’s seen the notification, and the employees are frequently asked to acknowledge that they’ve received the notification. It’s an efficient training platform. It also qualifies as verification of training which could be used in disciplinary actions against employees.

Now on one hand we could go full-dystopian and lament that Gen Z are now the most exploited generation in history because of the invasive way in which employers have omnipresent influence over their private lives. Big Brother is reaching out to control us in ways which would make George Orwell faint. No other generation has had an expectation of this level of after hours engagement.

On the other hand it’s not, in and of its own self, a bad thing. Among other things it improves workplace safety and hopefully promotes team building and morale. But the truth is many of the employees seem to like it and it feeds a need many of us have for constant engagement. The bad part is that engagement on the BAND platform is work and should be treated as paid work time.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is where we should be able to turn to find what legislation is in place to regulate how employers use these apps, and what they can reasonably require employees to do in terms of after hours engagement on messaging apps. The problem is that Fact Sheet #22: Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was last updated in 2008, right about the time that the Federal Minimum Wage was raised to $7.25/hr. As such there’s no language in it which has any bearing on the issue.

Facebook Messenger started in August 2011, the version history of the BAND app is less than a year long. No one could have foreseen the way that apps like these could replace tradition training programs and circumvent the need for an employees to be on an employers premises, “on the clock,” to receive their training.

If employees are required to participate in after hours messenger app engagement, and failure to do do will affect their work performance evaluation, then this is paid work time.

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