You would think in this day and age everyone would be working from home, considering it’s such an easy thing to do. But, while more and more companies are allowing employees to do this, more and more are still putting their foot down and saying no to this type of employment. If you are one of those companies that have done the research, seen the stats and you want to consider trying this out and letting a handful of employees try to work from home, there are a few things you want to consider from a legal perspective.
When you have a person work from home or telecommute, they should be aware that just because they are working from home, doesn’t mean they won’t be monitored randomly – because they will be. To be honest, not everyone CAN work from home; they don’t have the moral responsibility and they let “home” type things get in the way of their work like the TV, taking the dog out, friends calling to see if they want to go out, etc. These are all potential situations they could go on if you let a person work at home. However, there are ways to try and prevent this. One way is to monitor their Smartphone and computer – but these have to be company owned and they have to be told ahead of time that they will be monitored. You can’t legally monitor someone’s work if they bought the phone on their own, or if you don’t put a policy in place ahead of time and let them be aware of the monitoring.
Wages and Hours
The Fair Labor Standards Act takes into consideration people working from home and they have put into place some very serious rules and regulations, not only that the company has to follow, but that the employee has to follow as well. People that work from home should be working the same hours they would if they were at work unless there is some underlying situation – one that has been Okayed by the employer. One way to do this is to set up a written agreement on working at home – what the employees hours would be as well as wages, and if over time (if accepted by the employer) is accepted, what is considered over time, how much they would get paid, etc. This way no lines are crossed and nothing is done illegally on both parties sides.
Working on confidential projects, for clients or with data at work is one thing. But actually bringing that work home is another. When an employee takes home confidential data this raises the concern for leaked trade secrets, or worse. One way to fix this issue is to have the employee sign an NDA or non-disclosure agreement or something of the sort. You can also hire a Top employment attorney as an employee to really make sure this is done correctly. This will keep the employee responsible for the data they take home and will prevent things like trade secrets being leaked or other delicate information from being broken.
Another thing you might have to deal with as a company or an employer is discrimination acts. This does not have to be done on purpose, but the end result is the same – you can end up in a lot of legal troubles. For instance, if you only let females work from home; this could be considered a legal act. Or maybe you only let young people work from home – this could also be a legal act of discrimination. Make sure that if you are allowing people to work from home, that you treat everyone fairly, even if it’s only for a “try out” or temporary position.
As you can see above, this is the top reason why some companies have decided not to let people work from home. In the end, it would benefit the company more because it does present a sense of increased productivity, it does cost less to have an employee work from home rather than for them to come into work, and it’s just a nice option to give employees, but unless you plan on this going sour, the above-mentioned things are things you should consider when talking to a Top employment attorney.