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How Working From Home Has Impacted Employment Law

How Working From Home Has Impacted Employment Law

The business shutdowns that were the result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be long over, but there are still many employees throughout Ohio who are working from home. Some spend all of their work time at home, while others are starting to operate on a hybrid model, which requires them to be in the office for a period of time and allows them to work during other hours. Employees who work remotely or on a hybrid model often wonder how the law applies to their work. Below, our Ohio employment lawyer explains the most important laws regarding working from home.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) stipulates that all employers must provide their employees with proper wages for any hours they know an employee remotely worked. Employers should have constructive knowledge of the regular hours an employee works, but employees are responsible for informing employers of any additional or unreported hours.

Ohio’s Requirements for Remote Work

In response to how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected employment, the Ohio Administrative Rule 3341-5-42 came into effect on January 6, 2021. This rule outlines very specific requirements for remote work, and they are as follows:

  • The worksite must have sufficient Internet access. Employees are responsible for purchasing, installing, maintaining, and supporting the Internet service.
  • The employee, their unit, or their department must install, maintain, and support any additional equipment necessary to complete their work, including printers, monitors, and keyboards.
  • The employee is responsible for making sure their work environment is safe and functions properly.

Return to Office Demands

Now that businesses are open, many employers are asking their employees to return to the workplace. Sometimes, this is on a partial basis, while other times, employers ask their employees to return full-time. Generally speaking, employers do have the right to dictate where their employee works. However, some factors could impact whether or not this is a legal demand. These include:

  • What your employment contract says
  • What your employer’s remote work policy or agreement says
  • Whether you were working remotely solely due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Why your employer requires that you return to work, and
  • Why you are hesitant to return to the workplace

In the most extreme cases, employers may also threaten to fire their workers if they do not return as requested. In some cases, such action may result in a wrongful termination that can be filed against the employer, but that is not always true. An Ohio employment lawyer can advise on when a termination is against the law.

Our Employment Lawyers in Ohio Can Advise You of the Law

If you have been working remotely and are now concerned that your employer is violating your rights, our Ohio employment lawyers can advise on your case. At Marshall, Forman & Schlein, we are dedicated to helping employees exercise their rights, and we will put our experience to work for you. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options.

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