In the middle of a global pandemic, stay-at-home orders and state shutdowns, the option to work remotely has been both helpful and convenient for employees and employers alike.
However, this is new territory for many employers. And navigating this new territory does not come without legal risks. Employers must be aware of these challenges as they move forward, regardless of whether they plan to manage remote employees only temporarily or in the long-term.
Three matters employers must consider for remote work
There are many details that employers have had to organize these last few months as they transitioned their company to full-time remote work. Three of these critical details – and risks – that employers must evaluate include:
- Security: Cybersecurity has become a serious issue for businesses in just the past few years. And protecting company data can be a challenge with several employees working from their home networks. These networks are likely not as secure as the workplace’s, which could increase the risk posed to confidential company data. Employers must understand the new security risks their company could face in this situation and take measures to improve cybersecurity.
- Illegal behavior: Unfortunately, recent reports have found that workplace bullying remains a serious risk, even while working remotely. This is not something employers should overlook. After all, employers could still be liable for these incidents. It might help if employers schedule a training to review expectations and company policies now that the workforce is fully remote. This can reinforce employee protections as well as reduce the risk of future legal action.
- Employer responsibilities: Recent reports remind employers that all of California’s labor laws still apply while working from home. Therefore, employers must understand the responsibilities they have. For example, employers must reimburse employees for certain expenses related to work. This could include home office equipment and even a portion of the employee’s internet costs. Of course, these expenses must be reasonable. However, employers can face significant penalties if they violate this law and do not reimburse their employees.
Adjusting to remote work can be complex for employers, especially when managing these new risks. It might be helpful for employers to consult an experienced attorney to understand the legal details to reduce these risks.