Zoom Returns to the Office! Legal Considerations if Your Business is Still Team Remote
Joining the numerous other businesses pushing for in-person work, ironically, Zoom has moved to require many of its 7,400 employees to start working at the office, at least part of the time. Zoom has asked all employees within 50 miles of an office to work in person on a part-time basis, a dramatic move that has created frustration among their workforce.
Even though the pandemic shifted many businesses like Zoom to remote work, many are assessing how it's going and deciding that some required office time creates more productivity and better connection with the team.
There are also legal risks to consider with having remote employees and how employers can protect themselves. Here are some legal safeguards to consider if your business is still Team Remote.
Employers are now hiring individuals in states in which they do not have a physical office. This means employers may need to familiarize themselves with other jurisdictions' state and local employment laws. As an employer, you must consider workers' compensations, unemployment, leave laws, and tax considerations. If one or more of your employees work remotely in another state, you want to ensure you follow local tax and insurance rules. You should also investigate whether a business registration is required when an employee works remotely in another state.
Out of State Licensing
State licensing can pose another threat. This is important with industries that require a state license. Some examples are contractors and insurance sales. Employers and employees may have to get licensed in the state where the employee works. Employers must be responsible and make sure they know which state their employees are working in to ensure they are licensed to perform work in that state.
It's essential to have a clear policy regarding parameters and expectations regarding remote work. This policy must be in writing and specify whether the employee is 100% remote or hybrid. If hiring a hybrid employee, this should also specify how many days the employee is expected to be in the office. Make sure policies are clear and not discriminatory in any way.
Privacy and Security
Another factor is the increased cybersecurity risk that goes along with remote work. Make sure employees understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality while working remotely. There should be a clear understanding of the importance of protecting sensitive data and files. Have employees use separate work devices from personal devices and consult with a cybersecurity company to add a layer of protection to all devices.
Communication is key to a successful remote office plan. It’s important to effectively communicate with remote employees regarding deadlines, job performance, and assignments. A weekly meeting is advisable to address any issues and meet deadlines.
Employers should be clear about who will pay for office supplies and equipment. When issuing company devices to employees, the employee should sign an acknowledgment of receipt. This should clearly state that the employee is responsible for lost or damaged equipment.
To Zoom or Not to Zoom
Whether you are like Zoom, with a hybrid-work policy, or are fully team remote using Zoom, Teams, or other resources to run your business, it’s essential to consider the legal issues associated with remote work. Establish guidelines and policies to ensure your business and employees are protected.
Dye Culik PC is a business and franchise law firm in Charlotte, NC. Our business attorneys work with you to protect you and your business. If you have a question about a business matter, contact us to see how we can help.