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When habit becomes a crime: Can you charge your cell phone in the office?

2024-02-24T04:33:27.558Z

Highlights: When habit becomes a crime: Can you charge your cell phone in the office?.. As of: February 24, 2024, 5:26 a.m By: Laura Hindelang CommentsPressSplit Charging your phone at work can be a criminal offense if your employer has not given your consent. This can result in a warning or termination. The power connection belongs to the company. Only the employer is allowed to determine how the power connection is used. To be on the safe side, you should obtain written permission from your employer.



As of: February 24, 2024, 5:26 a.m

By: Laura Hindelang

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Charging your cell phone in the office can be a criminal offense if your employer has not given your consent.

This can result in a warning or termination.

There is probably hardly an employee who hasn't charged their cell phone in the office.

Many people regularly connect their smartphones to the electricity supply while they are working.

But be careful: If the employer has not approved this, it is a criminal offense that could potentially cost you your job.

Charging your cell phone in the office can be electricity theft

Basically, the power connection belongs to the company.

Therefore, only the employer is allowed to determine how the power connection is used, according to the website of

Pöppel Rechtsanwälte

, a labor law firm in North Frisia and Hamburg.

According to Section 248c of the Criminal Code, unauthorized cell phone charging is the “withdrawal of electrical energy,” also colloquially known as electricity theft.

If you want to charge your cell phone at work, you should clarify beforehand whether your employer expressly allows or tolerates this.

© Westend61/Imago

These usually involve very low cent amounts.

However, what is important is not the financial damage, but the act itself, explains business journalist Nicolas Lieven in an interview with

Deutschlandfunk

.

Electricity theft can be punished with a fine or a prison sentence of up to five years - but in very few cases is it that drastic.

It is much more likely that there will be a warning from the employer.

If you are caught repeatedly, you risk being terminated without notice.

Employers can tolerate private charging

However, employees do not need express consent to use the sockets.

It is sufficient if the employer is aware of the private use of electricity and tolerates it, the

Pöppel Rechtsanwälte

website informs .

So if the employer sees that the employees are charging their cell phones and does not make a claim, he tacitly agrees - without the need for written consent.

Don't miss out: You can find everything about jobs and careers in the regular career newsletter from our partner Merkur.de.

If a toleration has arisen, employees could refer to a so-called company exercise, explains Saskia Steffen, a specialist lawyer in labor law from Frankfurt am Main, to

Spiegel

.

Labor law describes a company practice as a claim that has grown out of habit.

The employer regularly grants certain benefits that the employee can continue to count on. 

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However, you are moving in a kind of gray area here.

Because even if these topics are not openly communicated, it does not automatically mean that private loading is permitted.

To be on the safe side, you should obtain written permission from your employer.

Saskia Steffen recommends clarifying private electricity use as early as possible.

It is best to do so by email so that you can always refer to the written consent later.

Things look different when it comes to service devices.

Charging on the employer's power grid is then always permitted.

Source: merkur

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