In the next few months, our Firm will be completing its 18th year, serving the business, organizational and educational communities with responsive, compliant and cutting edge advice. The changes we have seen in the past few years have included the transformation of many State laws toward becoming more employee-friendly, and the cultural changes evoked by the #MeToo and the social justice movements.
A seismic by-product of the Covid-19 pandemic for businesses and organizations has been the expansion of employees who work remotely, from employees working from home to employees who have moved to another State, to employees who relocated temporarily or permanently to another country.
Offering remote or hybrid options can be beneficial for employers, especially those seeking to gain a competitive edge over more traditional competitors. We also addressed this topic in a previous newsletter article under the headnote The New Workspace (see here).
Our New Obligations
However beneficial, it is no secret that when remote work crosses state lines, employer obligations and liabilities multiply. When employees work from a different jurisdiction than that of their employer, they are often subject to the various laws of that locality.
Some of the legal concerns that this new and transformed workplace has raised for our clients include:
- Compliance with wage and hour laws, including the classification of employees for the purpose of minimum wage and overtime pay calculation;
- Differing paid and unpaid time off policies;
- Determining participation in different State Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance programs;
- Conformity of employment policies to State anti-discrimination and harassment laws, including compliance with required sexual harassment training;
- The enforceability of restrictive covenants, which always depended on State laws;
- Maintaining State-specific timekeeping and recordkeeping requirements; and
- Protecting the confidentiality of employer’s proprietary systems and documents.
Our mission at Halpern & Scrom is more important than ever: to help our many clients navigate the complexities that accompany a workplace that has become multi-dimensional. Our counsel is communicated in many ways:
- Having clear policies that govern remote work;
- Monitoring the differing State laws; and
- Determining which laws apply to employees whose employment covers multi-State rules.
Our counsel has extended to clients whose needs include the preparation of remote work policies, multi-state Employee Handbooks, and State Handbook addenda that are distributed to specific employees, based on their locations.
Our Firm also prepares easy- to- read employment law digests that cover the State laws of all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, and can include relevant local employment ordinances. These digests provide the CEO, Human Resources Director, or Office Manager with a snapshot of the current employment laws of each individual State and locality.
Managing your information about different places where employees work has become a most important priority. Employee handbooks are the foundation of an employer’s everyday policies. Let us know if we can assist you in managing the most current policies that apply to your organization.
We are proud to serve clients in the employee policy arena. On a daily basis we counsel our clients on real life situations that present risks that impact their HR compliance and their very reputation. Our responsibilities are broader in depth than they were a few years ago but our goal has remained steadfast: to guide our clients in covering the rapidly evolving laws that govern a dynamic workplace. The workplace has permanently shifted to different locations and, as such, managing employees demands greater knowledge of the relevant laws and practices that apply in our new multi-state world.
We wish all of our clients and friends, from whatever state or country they may reside and work, a healthy and professionally satisfying New Year, filled with the achievement of your dreams and aspirations for 2023.
Jules and Paul