By Haiting Hu

A gunman killed 8 people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis several weeks ago. A policy that was in place to reduce cellphone distractions while working ultimately delayed victims calling for help or contacting their families. An article on the Wall Street Journal takes us to a closer look at cellphone usage policy in FedEx and other delivery companies.

According to the National Labor Relations Board, there are certain companies which are permitted to restrict their employees’ cellphone use, for example to protect against workplace accidents on manufacturing floors. FedEx does not allow cellphone use in its sorting facilities due to safety concerns. With a greater workload for delivery companies as people order directly to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to “minimize potential distractions around package sortation equipment and dock operations,” according to FedEx spokeswoman.

This incident raises important questions about employee rights and cellphone access, in particular in emergency situations, going forward.

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