Some Labor Laws Apply to Ongoing Telecommuting

Law Firm Newswire



Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) December 10, 2014 – Working at home is common in the technology age, and certain laws apply when this kind of work situation is ongoing and not just temporary.

“If you work at home, you need to know how you are classified by your employer. You also need to consider the laws that apply in your state of residence. Every state, with the exception of Montana, has “at-will” employment laws,” pointed out Timothy Coffey, a noted Chicago employment attorney.

At-will employment means that a company may lay a worker off, demote or fire the worker, or cut his or her pay for almost any reason. However, they may not discriminate against an employee based on various factors which include but are not limited to race, color, religion, sex or age.

These rules apply both to those who work at home and to those at work in a traditional workplace. An employee working at home is not classified as an independent contractor because, in most instances, the employer dictates what work they perform. There may also be some tax advantages to working at home, but they may not apply in the case of a disabled worker, because working at home benefits the employee and not always the employer.

“If an employee works at home because there is no available space in the employer’s usual place of work, telecommuting is then a benefit for the employer, and the costs of running a home office are usually tax deductible. However, you must know what kind of working arrangement you have first,” Coffey indicated. To that end, get any work-at-home arrangement detailed in writing. This is good protection for both parties to the agreement.

Any work-at-home written agreement should outline that the worker is obligated to follow certain business rules and codes of conduct and outline precisely what work the individual must produce for each pay period. Is the worker to be on call? That should be included in any agreement, along with a record of what equipment the individual may have at home and what should be done if that equipment is damaged or stolen.

If an individual is disabled, the federal government readily acknowledges work-at-home agreements, regarding such flexibility as an “accommodation.” This is in line with the federal rules and regulations that mandate that disabled workers must be allowed the opportunity to do their job to the best of their ability and that if there are issues, the disability must be accommodated.

“If you are in doubt about the validity of a work-at-home agreement, reach out and talk to an experienced employment attorney,” said Coffey.

Learn more at THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C. 351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602 Chicago, IL 60654 Call: 312.627.9700
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