March 31, 2020

Employment Law Issues in a Tele-World

Related Attorneys

March 31, 2020

Jeffrey A. Calabrese
Member, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits

It is a different world than it was just a few weeks ago. Many old workplace practices and/or policies may not be best suited for, or may not seamlessly transfer to, our new teleworking world.

Teleworking Policy

Teleworking is now a reality for many workforces, including workforces that have not previously engaged in teleworking. Accordingly, workforces should consider whether and to what extent it is appropriate to implement a teleworking policy. A teleworking policy may proscribe the schedule employees are required to maintain, address time keeping practices, identify how and by whom company property may be used, and provide other guidance on working remotely. A teleworking policy may also make it clear to employees that the ability to telework is a temporary situation, and employees will be required to return to the workplace when the current crisis is over. There is no time like the present to consider and/or implement a teleworking policy.

Timekeeping Practices

With employees working at home, time keeping practices, particularly for non-exempt employees, may need to be modified. In addition to making it clear to employees how work hours should be tracked, employees also need to understand and be held accountable for making leave requests and reporting leave use, whether it be paid or unpaid.

Accommodation Issues

Federal, state and local laws require employers to make accommodations to disabled employees and applicants in certain circumstances. While many employers are familiar with employee requests to modify the workplace, requests to modify teleworking practices and/or teleworking spaces are likely not as familiar. Additionally, the interactive process itself is likely to look different in this world of social distancing.

Workforce Communications

With employees teleworking, posting communications at a physical location and distributing paper copies of policies no longer make sense as the exclusive methods of communicating with a workforce about policies and practices. Because employers are required to make certain information available to employees, employers should consider modifying traditional communication methods to account for the realities of teleworking.

Designating a Work Space

Commentators recognize the importance of a designated workspace for employee productivity. A designated workplace is also likely to be important should a teleworking employee become injured at work and/or file a workers’ compensation claim.

Attorneys practicing labor and employment law at Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC would be happy to help assist companies with the transition to a teleworking workforce.

Stoll Keenon Ogden understands that these are trying times for our clients and our country. Our firm operations have continued uninterrupted and our attorneys are equipped to serve as we always have – for over 120 years.

If you would like to discuss employment law issues, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on your operations, or any other important matters, please do not hesitate to contact your trusted SKO professional.

Please also be sure to check out the Stoll Keenon Ogden Coronavirus Resource webpage for additional articles and information related to the latest information on new laws and directives enacted by federal, state, and local governments in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.