Do employers have to pay remote work expenses?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | employment law

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 require employers to reimburse their remote employees for certain work-related costs, such as:

  • Internet costs
  • Phone bills
  • Employer-directed expenses

An employee’s claim for cost reimbursement must be reasonable and related to the business’s needs or the employee’s work at home.

HOW CAN YOU HANDLE THIS SITUATION?

There are a few steps you can take in the face of this rising risk of this type of lawsuit. 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
  • Document everything, from communications to expenses