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Nearly 70% of Employees Polled in a Recent Survey Admit to Playing at Work


The Pokémon Go craze has taken over America, from millennials to baby boomers. However, if employees are venturing to PokéStops during the workday, they could find themselves gathering unemployment paperwork instead of Poké Balls, cautions Stephen Roppolo, managing partner of the Houston office of Fisher Phillips. Fisher Phillips is a management-side labor and employment law firm with 33 offices nationwide.


Pokémon Go, launched in early July, holds the Guinness World Record for being the most downloaded mobile game in its first month. Downloads of the app now total more than 130 million, with adults over the age of 25 representing a surprising 40 percent of those with the app, according to a company that tracks app downloads and social media usage[1]


“Employees need to remember that most Texas workers are at-will employees, and they can be fired for anything nondiscriminatory, which may include violation of work and safety rules or lost productivity due to playing Pokémon Go when they should be working,” said Roppolo. “A recent poll by Forbes that surveyed more than 66,000 employees found a staggering 70 percent played the game during work.”


Here are the top five reasons employees may get fired for playing Pokémon Go at work:

  1. Prowling around while work piles up. . Employees are paid for the work they perform.  If they are out catching Pokémon while on the clock, it is like stealing time and money from their employers.
  2. Battling Pokémon may lead to a data breach. Employees playing Pokémon while connected to the company’s Wi-Fi may be opening the door for hackers to attack the employer’s network. Additionally, employees are using up the company’s bandwidth and data, slowing down the internet connection for everyone. 
  3. Catching more than Pokémon. The app records everything during play. Pokémoniacs could be jeopardizing the company’s confidential information and trade secrets.
  4. Risking safety. Hunting Pikachu can be hazardous “work.”  Employees may be risking the safety of themselves and others by wandering into hazardous areas or playing while driving. Employers have a duty to maintain a safe working environment under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  5. Looking like a child.  Employers have a right to expect that employees will carry themselves with a sense of professionalism, and Pokémon-playing employees may not instill confidence in customers.

[1] StartApp, a company that tracks 600 million users for downloads and social usage.

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