Legal Issues Every Remote
Employer Should Understand

Remote employment comes with its share of benefits. Key among them is the expansion and attracting top talent in addition to saving more on overhead expenses. All these benefits overshadow those you can reap when you opt for a location-dependent workforce.

On the flip side hiring remotely has its own implications when it comes to employment law. Therefore, you should consider these legal implications to avoid further liabilities to your business. Use the most relevant channels to be sure that each problem is adequately handled in your:

  • Human resource policies
  • Hiring process
  • Employee handbook
  • Onboarding process
  • Correct procedures
  • Organizational structure
  • Additional organizational policies

What are the Legal Problems Associated with Hiring Remote Teams?

Privacy and Security of Your Business Data

Communication is a key factor in running your business. This also applies to using a remote workforce in your organization. It is likely that communication between you and your remote staff members happens in a decentralized place. In that sense, the privacy and security of vital information regarding your business should be your primary concern. This is because most of your employees will have access to your business’ most sensitive information such as:

  • Email addresses
  • Passwords
  • Phone numbers
  • Proprietary information
  • Personal identification information
  • Financial data
  • Communication between employees and customers

If you don’t secure this information, you may expose your business to data breaches from cybercriminals. However, you can secure your business data by ensuring that your remote employees adhere to your business privacy and security policies. Additionally, make sure that your organizational leadership has a system in place to enforce those policies.

What You Should Do
  • Enable the 2-factor authorization if you are using Google’s G-Suite
  • Every remote employee using a computer on public Wi-Fi should have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep the web browsing secure.
  • Encrypt hard drives to protect your business data on your personal computer.

Make sure all employees follow the above-mentioned steps all the time.

The Need for a Payroll

Just like all other workers, remote workers need to be paid according to the law. If you are not sure about the importance of the payroll you may get more clarifications from employment lawyers in your city or state. Make sure your payroll contains the following vital information as per your current state’s regulations:

  • Information that should appear on paystubs
  • The minimum wage in every employee’s state, city, or county
  • Paycheck delivery requirements
  • Payroll tax calculation
  • Overtime calculation
  • Payday frequency requirements
  • Payroll deduction requirements
What You Should Do
  • Confirm with your payroll provider or payroll department to know the necessary steps you need to follow to comply with your remote employees’ state’s employment laws.
  • Allow one person or one department within your organization to handle your payroll tasks

Understand International Employment Laws

When you hire workers from other countries, you need to be aware of the existing employment laws in those countries. Your organization doesn’t necessarily need to be registered in that country.

What You Should Do
  • Consult your human resource department to find out more about how you can handle international employees.
  • In case you don’t have your own HR department, you can reach out to an experienced consultant to help you handle international employees for your business.

Consider Healthy and Safety of Your Remote Workers

Despite the fact that your remote workers are not within your reach or based at a designated central workplace, it doesn’t imply that you should ignore their health and safety legislation. Make sure to identify potential risks they may face while working remotely.

Keep in mind that you are responsible for taking into account all necessary measures to mitigate any risks that your remote employees may face. You can achieve this goal by taking your time to review hazards with your employees in order to put the right control measures in place. If possible, find a way that remote workers can report and investigate injuries, illnesses, accidents, and other incidents related to work activities.

However, your remote workers have the obligation to comply with your policies to take care of their health and safety. In case of any hazards, they should report to you as soon as possible provided that they follow your reporting procedure.

What You Should Do
  • Establish effective worker support systems
  • If necessary, give your remote employees the recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Train your remote employees on safety measures

Follow the Right Hiring and Interview Procedure

Your job postings and hiring process may put you in a legal situation if you don’t follow the right procedure. That’s why employment lawyers insist on applying the recommend hiring procedure even for remote workers. For that reason, you should be aware of these problematic topics when interviewing your potential remote employees:

  • Compensation
  • Age
  • Race, color, ethnicity, or religion
  • Gender or sex
  • Country of origin or birthplace
  • Disability
  • Marital status

Avoid asking questions that touch on any of the above-mentioned topics to prevent future legal ramifications for your business.

What You Should Do
  • Make sure every interviewer in your organization is familiar with laws regarding hiring practices.
  • All the questions asked during the interview should be job-related

To avoid legal problems with your remote workers you should have one person or department to address any remote workforce issues. Also, the person or relevant department must seek working solutions to new potential remote employment problems that may arise.