Checking email now means breaking the law for many federal workers

The hundreds of thousands of US federal employees furloughed by Congress’ failure to appropriate funds for the 2014 fiscal year are legally required to turn off their work phones. If they check their work email they can be fired and may face civil or criminal penalties.

Government shutdown procedures vary by agency. Some, like the Committee on House Administration told non-essential personnel that it “strongly recommend that you turn your BlackBerrys off for the duration of the furlough,” while others mandate employees to hand in their work-provided cellphones, reports Politico.

“We strongly recommend that you turn your BlackBerrys off for the duration of the furlough.”

Why are agencies so strict about making sure furloughed…

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