Several months ago Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced that the company would discontinue its telecommuting program. This announcement unleashed a firestorm of debate over the merits and disadvantages of allowing employees to work from home. While that public debate appears to have calmed down for the moment, technological advances are making it easier and easier for employees of all stripes to carry out their job duties away from the traditional, brick and mortar workplace.
Regardless of what side of the debate a company may fall on, all employers must be aware of the potential legal consequences of work-at-home programs. When your employees telecommute, your company’s employment law obligations do not remain back at the office, but instead follow your workforce into their homes, the local coffee shop, or wherever else they may be performing work. Some of the most complex “work-at-home” employment law issues include making sure that you are properly tracking all employee work hours, assuring the safety of your workforce outside of the friendly confines of the factory or office, and insuring that your company’s confidential data remains private. For a further analysis of the employment law issues impacting companies with a telecommuting workforce, see my recent Miami Herald Article on this topic.