Telework Takes Center Stage Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Fenwick employment practices partner Sheeva Ghassemi-Vanni talked to Law360 about what employers need to know regarding employees working from home due to COVID-19.

Ghassemi-Vanni told Law360 that employers should first set a clear policy that is applied evenly and consistently for all employees. She cautioned that if decisions are made inconsistently about which employees are able to work from home, employers are opening themselves up to potential discrimination claims.

She also noted that California employers should keep employees’ expenses in mind. Ghassemi-Vanni pointed out that when employees are working from home based on, for example, a "mandatory edict" from their employer, the company's business costs – such as expenses associated with personal cellphones that workers use to make business calls or internet bandwidth they use to work – can't be passed along to employees.

In addition, she noted that employers must consider disability accommodations for employees even when they are working remotely.

For more information on employer response strategies for managing coronavirus in the workplace, please read the alert that Ghassemi-Vanni co-authored.

The full article is available on Law360 (subscription required).