What are My WFH Employee Rights?
With increasing digitization and the pandemic, work from home (WFH) is not only a trend but a necessity for some. For most employees, remote working opportunities provide better flexibility and a healthier work-life balance. Despite these benefits, employers still have certain duties to their employees.
Since the pandemic has become a long-term phenomenon, offices are counting on incorporating more permanent work from home solutions even after the pandemic subsides.
Health and Safety
Safeguarding the health and safety of WFH employees is one of the primary expectations that employees and the federal government have for employers. As the Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act specifies, every organization must ensure minimum dangers in a workplace.
At the same time, its ‘General Duty Clause’ states that employers must discontinue any activities that pose potential dangers to the workers. Therefore, it is vital that organizations follow this act irrespective of an employee working from home or not.
For example, if you become injured due to repetitive activity or some other work-related injury, then you may have a case for workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim.
Providing equipment and services
If an organization requires employees to use certain specific devices, the employer must provide the equipment to their employees. Alternatively, employers can also reimburse employees for the device costs. If a business requires standard laptops or desktops, the employer takes care of the most significant expenses.
While working remotely, some employees may be required to upgrade their internet services. In this case, it may be the duty of the employer to reimburse employees for this work expense.
Employers are required by law to outfit employees with the appropriate and necessary equipment for work. If a worker becomes injured due to not having work-issued equipment or due to the malfunction of equipment, there may be a case for workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim.
According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, you are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Many employees mistakenly believe that since they are working from home, they may not be entitled to receive FMLA leave. However, this is not true. Whether a person works remotely or not, the employees’ rights remain the same.
That said, you still need to be eligible to receive this benefit. For instance, to obtain family leave, you must have stayed with the company for at least a year with a total work time of 1,250 hours.
Right to Report Discrimination
The Civil Rights Act was a turning point to the social justice scenario in America. The Title VII of this act criminalizes discrimination against employees based on color, race, ethnicity, or religion.
So, if you receive emails or communications that are discriminatory against you or your co-workers, do not hesitate to report them via your company’s reporting system.
Furthermore, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act reinforced somewhat recently in 2009 states equal wage rights for minorities and women.
You are eligible to receive health coverage under the Affordable Care Act if you work in a small or medium-sized company. This act contains a unique provision of employee-shared-responsibility payment. Here, companies featuring more than 50 full-time workers must provide mandatory health insurance.
If they fail to do so, a significant amount of penalty has to be paid by them.
Apart from these, as a WFH worker, you are eligible for these rights:
- Get rational accommodations or changes in the workplace if you suffer from any medical conditions or due to any religious beliefs.
- Expect that any genetic or medical information that you share with the organization will be kept confidential.
All these rights are based on federal employment laws. Your office may also apply a few other state or local laws. Now that you are aware of your basic employee rights, you can advocate for yourself and better work-life.
At Carrillo Injury Law, we help employees protect their rights to a safe and healthy work environment by spearheading workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Not sure if you have a claim? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.