Working From Home? Don’t Forget These Legal Considerations
One thing that many employees enjoyed during the COVID related shutdowns, was the ability to work remotely, from home. Although it is now over two years since the worst of COVID, many jobs are still allowing employees to work from home.
But when you work from home, there are many legal issues to consider. Some employers will have work from home agreements, but some may not. Here are some things you should get clarification for, or be mindful of, if you are working from home.
Sensitive Data and Privacy
If you are working with sensitive customer data, does the company have a data policy? Some companies may allow you to use your personal computers or devices, but some may not. If you use company-issued equipment, be mindful of privacy; as that equipment is not yours, it could always have key detection or website monitoring software on it, which usually can be done without your consent on a company-owned device.
State Laws if You are Out of State
If you are working in another state, there are big issues about what state law applies. With federal law—such as discrimination or harassment lawsuits—this isn’t as much of an issue; the law is generally the same from state to state.
But when state laws are involved, California’s relatively worker-friendly laws may not apply to you, if you are working for a company that is located outside of California. In some cases, things that you agree to with your employer, like a non-compete agreement, may not be legally valid in other states.
The FLSA and Your Hours
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that you be paid for hours that you work, and that you be paid overtime for hours that exceed 40 hours a week. But working from home, it may be hard to track how many hours you are working because you may not have a set schedule. Hourly-paid employees should try to keep a log of time worked, even if your employer doesn’t require you to do so.
Many employees may abuse work-from-home employees, calling them or texting them at all hours, and on weekends; anytime your employer is asking you to do something could be considered work time, for the purposes of calculating the 40 hour threshold.
As a general rule, if you are injured on the job you get workers’ compensation–if you are injured while working. But when you are working from home, it can be difficult to determine when an injury happens when you are “at work” or when you “are working,” because that line can sometimes blur when you work from home.
Training for Technology
If you are elderly, your company should be providing you with adequate training to use the technology needed to work remotely; a failure to do so in some cases, could be considered age discrimination.
Contact the San Jose employment law lawyers at the Costanzo Law Firm today for help if you are working from home.