by Laurie Rowen and Erin Giglia
Work-life balance and cybercommuting is a hot topic, especially in light of Marissa Mayer’s recent announcement that Yahoo! employees will be required to work in the office rather than remotely. Besides career and balance considerations, cybercommuting also implicates legal issues for employers. Lisa Lawson, a partner at the women-owned boutique law firm Pennington Lawson, recently wrote about the legal implications of cybercommuting in The Recorder. Lisa’s article, Recorder Cybercommuting for Employers, explains that companies permitting employees to work from home must comply with relevant California laws. The article states:
There are few employment law topics that have generated more heated debate recently than the concept of work-‐life balance, and how employees and companies should go about achieving it. Yahoo Inc.’s recent announcement that it intended to end all work-‐from-‐home arrangements drew widespread scorn, with some critics labeling the move regressive and anti-‐woman. At the same time, new studies are emerging that claim employees who take advantage of flexible work arrangements, including telecommuting, experience a “flexibility stigma” which results in lower wages, fewer promotions and harsher performance evaluations.
Lawson’s article discusses employer compliance with wage & hour law for exempt and non-exempt employees. Specifically, employers must ensure that non-exempt employees keep accurate time records so they can properly pay for their time. For exempt employees, employers must ensure that working remotely does not undermine the employee’s exempt status. Lawson also discusses how cybercommuting may also implicate discrimination laws – namely who gets to cybercommute and who does not, and when must an employer allow cybercommuting as an accommodation for a disability. Lawson cautions employers to avoid requiring an employee to cybercommute while taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or other statutes that prohibit employers from interfering with certain leaves. She also discusses that employers must comply workplace safety and injury laws, including employee home offices. Lawson also sets forth elements of a successful cybercommuting program, including a written policy and a written cybercommuting agreement between the employer and employee. To read the full article, please visit the Recorder’s Website. For more information about cybercommuting, please contact Lisa Lawson at i[email protected].
Lisa Lawson has over 15 years of experience advising California employers and executives and litigating high-stakes employment-related cases. She provides advice and counsel on all aspects of state and federal employment law, including wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment, retaliation, employee movement, disability law, leaves of absence, employee privacy, and wage-and-hour issues. Prior to co-founding Pennington Lawson, Ms. Lawson worked in the nationally-recognized employment law departments of Paul Hastings and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Ms. Lawson was recently appointed by the State Bar to serve on the Executive Committee of the Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section. Her three-year term commenced in September 2011. Ms. Lawson also was named a Northern California “Super Lawyer” for 2012.
Ms. Lawson received her Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles and her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. Ms. Lawson lives with her husband and two daughters in Piedmont and serves as a member of that city’s Civil Service Commission, which hears disputes between the City and its employees.
Copyright 2013. ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Portions of this article reprinted with permission from: The Recorder.