There's a reason why BlackBerrys have earned the nickname CrackBerry. The real-time e-mail delivery, the built-in QWERTY keyboard for easy messaging--it's all very alluring and addictive. Once you've had a taste of it, there's no denying the sweetness of the CrackBerry. But when does it become a problem? When you're on vacation and you can't put your BlackBerry down long enough to enjoy the sunset over the beach? When you miss your kid's game-winning touchdown because you had to reply to an important e-mail? It's kind of a catch-22: On one hand, BlackBerrys and other such devices free you from your desk and office, but at the same time, you're still tied to your work with that always-on access. I know--I've been there. Occasionally, I'll take some of these devices with me on vacation or to events as I'm testing them, and sure enough, sooner or later, I'll be drawn to check my e-mail and respond to any pressing matters.
But can your employer actually be liable for this type of behavior? According to Gayle Porter, an associate professor of management at the Rutgers University School of Business, they can. Porter recently wrote a paper stating that workers could possibly sue their employers for their "work-induced tech addiction" and its affect on their personal lives. You can read the full Reuters story at CNET News.com. Personally, I'm not buying it. Unless you have a job that requires you to be on call 24/7, we all have the ability to walk away from our device or to turn it off. Blaming this type of behavior on someone else--unless your boss is really a tyrant, and if that's the case, I think you have some bigger issues to deal with than a tech addiction--just seems weak to me. What do you think?