Over the past two years, many California businesses transitioned to full-time remote work. It has become the norm for many employers and employees across the country, as well as a convenient option.
However, remote work comes with its own risks. Employers faced new concerns regarding cybersecurity and intellectual property protection. Now, many are facing employee disputes as well.
Business owners should be aware of this trend in lawsuits
According to The Los Angeles Times, the number of lawsuits businesses face from remote workers is increasing. The reason for this wave of lawsuits? The costs related to working from home.
These lawsuits list a wide range of costs employees want their employers to cover, including:
- Home office and technology costs
- Increasing internet bills due to working from home
- Increasing utility costs due to working from home
- Lost revenue from being unable to rent out home office space
The sheer number of these lawsuits means that business owners should take note – and be prepared.
What does the law say?
California law does cover this matter. The rules state that employers must reimburse their remote employees for certain work-related costs, such as:
- Internet costs
- Phone bills
- Employer-directed expenses
Employers may be responsible for reimbursing remote employees when it comes to certain expenses. However, the costs must be reasonable and related to the business’s needs or the employee’s work at home.
The rise of remote work brought many more costs into question, as shown by the lawsuits. With many businesses choosing to stay remote, it will be critical for employers to address this issue.
How can you handle this situation?
There are a few steps you can take in the face of this rising risk of lawsuits. You should:
- Carefully compare and contrast in-office practices to remote work practices
- Review policies, employee benefits and the employee handbook
- Proactively classify what business expenses you will cover
- Clearly communicate with your employees
- Document everything, from communications to expenses
Before taking any of these steps, it is helpful to consult an experienced business law and employment law attorney. That way, you can protect your business and yourself effectively.