My latest column for the Times Online (U.K.) is now up and deals with one academic’s recent prediction that employers would become targets of lawsuits based on their workers’ BlackBerry addictions. An excerpt:
…it made a perfect hey-Martha-look-at-this story, arriving amid the August silly season. As it happens, media people love to confess to their own BlackBerry addictions, which subtly reflect their own importance (people need to reach me day and night!) and in any case make a more agreeable topic of conversation than their gin, shopping or sex addictions….
All that having been said, it’s very unlikely that employers need worry about BlackBerry-addiction suits. Despite rumors to the contrary, American courts have not in fact been much inclined to let sunken-eyed Jane blame her addictions on deep-pocketed James. Compulsive gamblers’ suits have mostly flopped so far – as have those alleging videogame addiction – while the very modest success enjoyed by plaintiffs in fast-food lawsuits has come on other legal theories, such as ingredient mis-labelling.