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What are the legal concerns when you allow a non-exempt

Customer Question
What are the legal...

What are the legal concerns when you allow a non-exempt employ to work from home?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

I'm in the state of north carolina

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

At will full-time

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Nothing else

Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/12/2018
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 5 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,391
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
What are the legal concerns in the state of North Carolina when you allow a non-exempt employee work from home?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Thanks for your patience. There are some legal and practical concerns with letting employees work from home.

The legal concerns are there. Essentially, a non-exempt employee is entitled to overtime payments under the fair labor standards act. It's hard to determine exactly how many hours an employee has worked unless you have sophisticated tracking software and/or honest employees who can tell you how long they worked. Because it's impossible to directly supervise their work, they could pad their hours and it could cost the employer more in overtime.

The practical concerns are that sometimes employees who work from home may take longer to finish projects, respond to emails and voice mails, and complete other tasks.

On the other hand, if you have any reasonable way of tracking how much time a person is working, then an employee who is telecommuting will actually save an employer money in terms of overhead; the risk of a worker's compensation claim is low since they would be in their own home, and you don't also have to provide things like a break room or otherwise keep employees happy. Also, studies have shown that productivity goes up for employees when they are working from home as well because they can get more of their own lives sorted out more easily (e.g. paying bills, going to doctor's appointments) because they aren't having to go to an office.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Are their any concerns about other employees wanting to work from home in other departments? Are we opening up a can or worms from a company standpoint?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

It's probable that other employees would want to do the same thing, but generally the same rules and issues will apply. So long as you can reasonably track the non-exempt employee's time and so long as the employees are aware of the rules regarding working from home, then it may actually save the company money and help them retain employees in my experience.

How else can I help you today?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Can we allow one department to work from home and tell another department that they cant work from home based on their job duties / functions? Letting them know that they should be able to get the job done at work.
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Yes, you can allow some departments to have a work from home arrangement and others that they cannot. It's not illegal to do that so long as it's not on some discriminatory basis (e.g. only the women can work from home).

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