Since its launch earlier this month, the Pokémon GO app has become the #1 downloaded app and the most searched term on Google. With as many as 25 million users in the U.S. alone, it has become a bigger distraction than Twitter or Facebook and Forbes says 70% of users admit to playing at work. While I admittedly downloaded the app in my office, I did so purely for professional research. And while I haven’t noticed any users in my office, here are some issues to watch out for in your workplace:
-There have been dozens of reported injuries (and crimes) suffered by users in California. Employees injured while using the app at work may qualify for workers compensation coverage or even disability accommodations.
-While its doubtful the CA legislature contemplated such, injuries sustained playing Pokemon Go would qualify for CA paid sick leave.
-Employers who foster use of the app as team-building may also be liable for injuries that may occur off-site in an effort to “Catch ‘Em All”.
-Because users have to keep the app open while playing, focus is easily diverted with pings and pop-ups, so employers may want to consider productivity contests or perks to counter the effects of the app.
-Remind employees of confidentiality policies. Because smartphone cameras are utilized during the game, employees may be inadvertently transmitting confidential information.
-Consider restricting use of the app on Company-provided cell phones to limit distractions and potential liability from injuries.
-Be sure to apply any discipline in a non-discriminatory manner to avoid complaints of favoritism or discrimination.
A welcome summer distraction for some and an annoying media barrage for others, employers are hoping Pokémon GO(es) away by Labor Day!