Employers should provide (and pay for) the cell phones and other PDA’s used by their sales force.  Why?  So that the company is entitled to, and can insist on, the return of the telephone, the assigned telephone number and the contacts and other wealth of information contained on those devices when the employment relationship ends.  If a company allows an employee to use his or her own cell phone or telephone number (even if the company reimburses the employee for the service) , the company may not have a right to insist the telephone be turned over to it to clear the customer information from the phone.  Even worse, when your customers use the normal telephone number to place an order with their sales contact, who has since left your employment, they will be connected with your former employer who is now working for your competitor –and the employee didn’t even have to do anything to solicit the customer’s business for the new employer. 

Consequently, a comprehensive effort to protect confidential information, trade secrets and company goodwill may well include providing company-owned cell phones for the sales staff.

 Follow me on Twitter @RussellCawyer.