March 24, 2021 - 10:00 AM
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Employers across the business spectrum have experienced employees teleworking and performing various job duties. Many Employers expect large segments of their workforce to continue regularly working from home after the pandemic is over. This raises a variety of questions Employers should be thinking through carefully, especially if the employee’s home office is in a state other than the Employer’s regular place of work. As remote working becomes more the norm, Employers must broaden their outlook as to the laws governing the relationship with their employees and assure compliance with those laws. Increasingly, this will become a more difficult task.
This Client Alert identifies several of those issues in summary form. For a more thorough discussion, click on the heading of each topic.
Wages are taxed based on where the worker physically performs the work but what tax laws apply if the employee working from home is in a different state than his or her normal workplace? What risks of liability do Employers face if they apply the wrong tax rate for withholding purposes? Can allowing an employee to work from home result in the Employer becoming subject to the income tax laws of the employees’ state of residence?
Under OSHA’s “general duty” provision, Employers must furnish to each a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Does this mean Employer have a duty to assure a home office is safe and do Employers have to keep records of injuries suffered while an employee is working from home.
Are Employers responsible under workers’ compensation laws for work-related injuries occurring at home?
Are Employers with employees working from home required to register with that state’s unemployment office? Must employers comply with that state’s law requiring notice to employees and state officials in the event of a termination or mass layoff?
Who determines what a home-office should include and pays for the desk, chair, computer, and supplies? Do any states require Employers to reimburse employees for things that are required to work at home? How do Employers assure the security of their information on home-based computers? What about employee privacy rights?
Has working from home during the pandemic established that as a reasonable accommodation such that an Employer must allow such employees to continue to work from home after the pandemic ends? If an Employer allows a disabled employee to continue to work from home after the pandemic must the Employer otherwise accommodate the employee in the home setting?
Must Employers comply with the wage laws of the states in which their employees reside if they regularly work from home? How do Employers track overtime for non-exempt workers?
Are employees working at home cover by the employment laws of their state of residency or by the state in which their Employer is located, such as laws governing paid and unpaid leave, anti-discrimination, and employee training? Does working from home affect the enforceability of non-compete agreements?
This newsletter is designed to keep you up-to-date with changes in the law. For help with these or any other legal issues, please contact Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP. The content of this newsletter is intended solely for your informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.