If I used my personal cell phone to conduct business for my employer and they pay partial for the bill can they keep my phone upon termination?

  • Do you mean your phone number or the handset? – solarflare Aug 29 '19 at 22:47
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    Who bought the phone? Under who's name is the contract with the phone company? – DarkCygnus Aug 29 '19 at 22:48
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    Welcome to BYOD policies and procedures.. The company likely cannot keep your phone if it is your property. However, the company's policies and procedures probably say something like you have to surrender it for a wipe upon separation or termination. (I helped two US banks setup their mobile security practices. These are typical policies that are present. In some instances we had technical controls to enforce it, like remote wipe through iPhoneConfigurator). – user25792 Aug 30 '19 at 3:51
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    Also see discussions like Legal and technical BYOD pitfalls highlighted at RSA security conference. – user25792 Aug 30 '19 at 3:59
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    @jww so you wipe personal contact info from a personal device? Can you do that under the various data protection acts? Does that contract supercede those acts? And will a backup & restore be useful... – Solar Mike Aug 30 '19 at 5:48

If I used my personal cell phone to conduct business for my employer and they pay partial for the bill can they keep my phone upon termination?

If you want to know the legal aspects perhaps it would be better if you consult a lawyer (and mention your location as well).

Now, in practical terms seems to me that they can't or shouldn't.

You say you use your personal phone (which you bought I take it), and that the company pays part of the bills. Seems to me that they are doing the right thing by recognizing that part of your job entails making phone calls and paying you for that as compensation... but the phone is yours. At most they should stop paying part of your bills when you are terminated.

Different case would be if they gave you the phone, and they payed for it. In that case the phone would be company property and should be given back when terminated or leaving.

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    And they don't own your contact list either... They are probably paying a token amount towards the connection charges... Asking for your contacts is private information sisters, brothers friends etc... – Solar Mike Aug 30 '19 at 5:35

Assuming it's your phone and your contract does not state anything else, then


they cannot. How would that work out? I regularly use my private car for company trips and get reimbursed for that. Doesn't mean the company gets to keep my car when I leave. Anybody suggesting that would be considered out of their mind.

  • +1. If they want to control the phone, it needs to be their property. – spuck Aug 30 '19 at 23:36

If it's your phone, meaning you purchased it and your name is on the purchase contract then no, they can't keep your phone. That would be analogous to them keeping your vehicle if they paid you for the business use of your vehicle.

  • Or they can keep your house if you worked from home at any point. What is a purchase contract? – Gregory Currie Aug 30 '19 at 4:54

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