Our customer service reps, who we call front desk attendants, are not allowed to have their cells with them at all while working. They are to be in a locker or in their purse/car. We have a main phone line that can be used for emergencies. There is no business reason for ours to have their cells and if they do, they are just a distraction from the work they should be doing. Whether that be with a direct customer or paying attention to their environment (loss prevention, member safety, etc)
It is very annoying from a customer's point of view. Any use of cells in a customer's presence that is not business related is rude and unacceptable. And honestly we have felt the need to put in a written policy because our employees could not see the black/white line of when they could and could not use their cells.
And it should be something that the manager DOES discuss with the employee in question and probably all the others who are doing it without a customer taking the time to complain.