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Working From Home – Legal Issues You May Not have Considered

Though there are many benefits to working at home, such as shorter commute times and work/life balance, as an employer you also need to recognize the legal issues which arise as a result of allowing employees to work from home.

Some things to consider:

First, if you establish a working from home arrangement with an employee(s), it should be fairly specific and in writing. It’s recommended to include in the contract that the employer has the right to cancel this arrangement at any time and have the employee work from the office instead if needed. This is because if you find that the working from home situation isn’t working, either for one particular employee or for everyone at large, you may be faced with an argument by an employee that he/she is being constructively dismissed if you now require them to work in your office.

Secondly, confidentiality and privacy are significant workplace issues. Are your employees using your computers or their own computers to work from home? What happens if these devices and equipment are lost or stolen? It’s obviously a problem if an employee integrates personal information on a laptop with company property. What happens if someone comes over and sees your computer open and has access to confidential information?

Thirdly, are your employees working from a specific office in their home or do they use any and all parts of the house? If there is a flood or fire in their house, what happens to your property? Is their house adequately insured for this purpose and how do you retrieve or claim any such loss or damage though an insurer that you have not contracted with?

It’s important to understand and remember that an employee working from home is and continues to be governed by all employment related statues. This includes the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, the Occupational Health & Safety Act, and the Employment Standards Act.

Original article source: Working From Home – Legal Issues You May Not Have Considered

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