In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are opting to allow their employees to work remotely. To avoid potential liability, employers who choose to implement a remote work policy must ensure that the policy is administered in a manner that complies with applicable anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws. The following should be included in remote work policies implemented by employers:
- Eligibility: Depending on the nature of the employer’s business as well as the employee’s job functions, an employer may not be able to make all of its employees eligible for remote work. Therefore, a remote work policy should include eligibility criteria. Eligibility should be based on objective criteria, such as job duties or years of service with the employer.
- Compliance with Existing Company Policies: The remote work policy should make it clear that all existing company policies still apply to employees who are working remotely.
- Set Work Expectations: The policy should make clear that employees need to be accessible during regular work hours and that employees must follow their normal work schedules.
- Equipment: The policy should set forth what equipment, if any, that will be supplied by the employer (i.e., laptop, printer, etc.). The policy should state that any such equipment is to be used for business purposes only. The policy should also state what equipment, if any, that must be maintained by the employee, and should make clear that the employer is not liable for any damage to equipment maintained by the employee.
- Protection of Confidential and Proprietary Information: The policy should set forth that remote employees are expected to protect confidential and proprietary information belonging the employer, including the use of locked file cabinets and desks, and regular password maintenance.
- Compensation: The policy should state that there will be no changes to employee salaries for working remotely. Any salary adjustments should be made in accord with the employer’s regular course of business.
If you have any questions about remote work policies and/or need assistance with any remote work issues, please contact Curcio Mirzaian Sirot LLC.
* Frank A. Custode, Esq. is a Partner of Curcio Mirzaian Sirot and the Chair of the firm’s Employment Practice.