Learning Methods
A traditional classroom couples on-site learning with the added value of face-to-face interaction with instructors and peers. With courses and exams scheduled worldwide, you will be sure to find a class near you.
Highly Interactive
On-going interaction with instructor throughout the entire classroom event
Interaction with peers/professionals via face-to-face
Components (May Include)
On-site instructor-led delivery of course modules, discussions, exercises, case studies, and application opportunities
Supplemental learning elements such as: audio/video files, tools and templates, articles and/or white papers
E-course materials available two weeks prior to the course start date; printed course materials ship directly to the event location
One + Days
Varies by course ranging from one to multiple days
Technical Needs
Specific requirements are clearly noted on the course page
Virtual Classroom
Ideal for those who appreciate live education instruction, but looking to save on travel. A virtual classroom affords you many of the same learning benefits as traditional–all from the convenience of your office.
Highly Interactive
On-going interaction with instructor throughout the entire virtual classroom event
Interaction with peers/professionals via online environment
Components (May Include)
Live online instructor-led delivery of course modules, discussions, exercises, case studies, and application opportunities
Supplemental learning elements such as: audio/video files, tools and templates, articles and/or white papers
E-course materials available up to one week prior to the course start date. Recorded playback and supplemental materials available up to seven days after the live event.
Varies by course ranging from one to multiple sessions
Technical Needs
Adobe Flash Player
Acrobat Reader
Computer with sound capability and high-speed internet access
Phone line access
A self-paced, online learning experience that allows you to study any time of day. Course material is pre-recorded by an instructor and you have the flexibility to view content modules as desired.
Independent Learning
Components (May Include)
Pre-recorded course modules
Supplemental learning elements such as: audio/video files, online quizzes
E-course materials start on the day of purchase
Optional purchased print material ships within 7 business days
120 Days - Anytime
120-day access starts on the day of purchase
Direct access to all components
Technical Needs
Adobe Flash Player
Acrobat Reader
Computer with sound capability and high-speed internet access
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Legal Compliance in the Age of Remote Work

It is undeniable — COVID-19 has changed the workplace in significant and lasting ways. 


Six months ago, the sudden shift to remote work was expected to be a temporary measure to stem the spread of the virus. It didn’t take long, however, for employers to realize that remote work provided them with a significant cost savings associated with a smaller real estate footprint and surprisingly increased employee productivity. Additionally, abandoning the brick and mortar office building allows employers to expand the geographical reach of their recruiting strategies to tap into a more diverse talent pool. As a result, many employers are considering allowing employees who can work remotely to do so permanently.  While the business benefits of a primarily remote workforce are undeniable, employers need to take care to avoid legal pitfalls.  

Employers have the advantage of having operated for six months with a primarily remote workforce. Before launching into a fully remote workplace, employers should take advantage of the lessons learned during these months. The following are recommendations that employers should consider as they move to a more permanent remote workforce.

Set Clear Expectations

Working remotely on a temporary basis during a pandemic is very different than working remotely permanently. As a result, employers should review and update their employee handbook and job descriptions as necessary to reflect the changed work environment. In addition, the handbook and other policies should be revised to clarify expectations for a remote workforce, such as:

  • performance expectations;
  • time and attendance requirements;
  • expectations for home offices;
  • health and safety requirements;
  • process for requesting leave;
  • availability during working hours, unless on approved leave;
  • data security protocols;
  • appropriate storage and disposal of hard-copy documents; and
  • security of company-issued devices and equipment.

Required Workplace Notices
Employers are required, pursuant to state and federal law, to post specific notices related to harassment and discrimination in the workplace, protected family leave, wage and hour, and health and safety standards, among others. These notices must be available to employees working remotely. This can be accomplished by making the posters available on the company’s intranet or by email.

Workplace Safety at Home
Employers are not relieved of their legal obligation to provide a safe workplace when the workplace is an employee’s home. Employers are not required to inspect employees’ homes to ensure they comply with health and safety standards imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act. However, it is a best practice to provide employees with a checklist for maintaining a safe workspace in their home. Employers may ask employees to certify, in writing, that their home office complies with the safety requirements set forth in the checklist. Finally, workers’ compensation laws apply to workplace injuries that occur while the employee is working at home.

Wage & Hour Compliance
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a given week. Compliance with the FLSA necessitates accurate recordkeeping of hours worked. Employers must require non-exempt employees to accurately track and report their working time daily and they must receive written authorization from their supervisor prior to working overtime.

Employers should also continue to enforce applicable meal and break requirements for nonexempt employees when they are working from home, including the recording of unpaid meal breaks. As a best practice, periodically remind employees that they are entitled to and must take meal and rest breaks when working from home.

Movement to a primarily or fully remote workforce may necessitate reallocating job duties.  Employers should take care when assigning non-exempt job duties to exempt employees. The reallocation of duties may cause an exempt employee to no longer be primarily performing job duties that qualify for the exemption. As a result, the employer could face claims of misclassification including liability for unpaid overtime pay. 

Reasonable Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities
Employers’ obligation to provide reasonable accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act extends to employees with disabilities who work remotely.

FMLA Eligibility
The protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) extend to eligible remote employees. The FMLA regulations state that an eligible employee must be “employed at a worksite where 50 or more employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles of that worksite.” An employee’s worksite is defined as “the office to which the employee reports and from which assignments are made.”  Therefore, if 50 or more employees, are within 75 miles of their employer’s worksite, they are eligible for FMLA leave.

Impact of Remote Work on Diversity & Inclusion
It takes a skilled manager to effectively manage a 100% remote workforce. Depending on company culture and where each company is on its D&I journey, full remote work can negatively impact minority and female workers and individuals with disabilities. Unless you have a strong culture of inclusion and managers who are skilled at managing a remote workforce, these employee groups are at risk of falling through the cracks. 

  • Encourage managers to take note of who is not contributing on video calls and make a concerted effort to bring them into the discussion.
  • Require managers to conduct periodic one-on-one check-in meetings with everyone on their team.
  • Develop a protocol for continuing formal and informal mentoring relationships remotely.
  • Ensure managers receive training on implicit bias, work/life balance and inclusion.

Impact of a Fully Remote Workforce on Pay Equity

One of the motivations behind moving to a primarily remote workforce is cost savings. Those savings can come from adjusting salaries. Employers have three options for setting pay for a remote workforce to be competitive with (1) geographic area where employees live; (2) the location of the office to which they report; or (3) the national average. Given the options, the impact of shift to remote work on pay equity is not clear. The change can be the key to closing the gap or it can undo all the progress employers have made toward shrinking the differential in their workforce. 

Employers should proceed with caution when considering whether and how to revise its compensation program for a remote workforce. The focus on pay equity may have been temporarily overshadowed by the pandemic, but there is no indication that shareholders, enforcement agencies and plaintiffs’ attorneys have moved on.

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About the Author

Consuela Pinto Bio Image

Consuela Pinto is a shareholder and head of the pay equity practice at FortneyScott.

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