by: Amber Peoples, President, Atlas Services February 10, 2022
The number of people who work remotely has been steadily increasing over the past few years, and many companies rely on remote workers to get their jobs done. However, legal risks abound if employers aren’t careful to follow state and local laws in all states and towns that their employees live in, as well as federal employment laws like the Family Medical Leave Act.
As an employer, if you want to take advantage of having remote workers—and reap any benefits that can come from them—you need to make sure you’re complying with employment laws. If not, your company could face some hefty legal fees or fines. Employment laws are determined on the federal, state and local levels. The nuances of these laws vary from place to place, so it’s critical that employers stay abreast of any updates as they relate to their remote workforce. Without your own human resources team it can be hard to keep up with the various laws, and even if you have an HR team, it still can be a challenge.
While you might assume that remote employees are exempt from some company rules and policies, they’re not. If you don’t update your employee handbook to include remote work policy, you’ll expose yourself to legal risks like non-discrimination or wrongful termination. It is also important that you review each state for their specific laws. For example, if a company is based in New Mexico, but has remote employees in Arizona and Colorado, there are differing sick time pay laws that are applicable to the employees working within all three of the states.
Labor law posters are often forgotten or overlooked in a remote working environment, but yes, they are a requirement. Most posting requirements have not kept up to date with the remote work force. Failing to notify and post all required information can get you in serious trouble with federal, state and local authorities, in each location that employees work from.
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