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Navigating Remote Work Policies: Legal Implications for Employers and Employees

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Nevada employers and employees alike have continued to struggle with remote work policies. Even as more companies “return to the office,” there remains a significant percentage of the state’s workforce still working remotely from home. It is therefore incumbent on employers to continually review and revise their remote work policies to ensure they remain in compliance with Nevada and federal labor laws.

If you are a remote worker who has been treated unfairly–and possibly illegally–by a Nevada employer, it is important to consult a Las Vegas employment attorney who can advise you of your rights and assist you in taking appropriate legal action against your employer. At Ace Law Group, we represent employees in asserting their rights to fair compensation and a fair workplace. We understand that remote work is important to you and your family. And we will make every effort to help ensure that your employer follows the law in this area.

Your Compensation as a Nevada Remote Worker

The first thing to keep in mind is that just because you work from home or another remote worksite that is not your employer’s normal place of business, that does not make you an “independent contractor.” Some Nevada employers have tried to take advantage of the move to remote work during COVID-19 as a pretext for reclassifying statutory employees as independent contractors. But this is illegal. Where you work is not the determining factor of your status as an employee. An employer who engages in willful misclassification may owe you back pay and benefits, as well as face potential fines of up to $5,000 from the State of Nevada.

Similarly, even when working from home, you still enjoy the same protections from laws governing employee compensation as in-office workers. Among other things, this means your employer must:

  • pay you for each hour worked;
  • pay you at least the minimum wage and overtime (time-and-a-half) if you are a non-exempt employee;
  • give you 10-minute paid rest breaks for every 4 hours worked and a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every continuous 8-hour period of work;
  • give you at least 7 days’ notice before reducing your rate of pay; and
  • pay you on a regular payday that occurs at least semi-monthly.

Can Your Employer Monitor You While Working from Home?

Many Nevada employers use software-based tools to monitor remote workers. Some of these tools are designed to log when an employee is using a non-work-related application or even log every keystroke made. In some cases, employees are even told to keep their computer’s web camera on at all times so the employer can “keep an eye” on them.

The reality is that the law in this area is largely unsettled. Some monitoring practices may violate state and federal privacy laws. But when an employee is using employer-provided equipment, the employer is generally within its rights to monitor usage. The same holds when an employee connects a personal device to an employer-owned network. If an employer demands access to a work-from-home employee’s private Wi-Fi network or personal computers, however, that is probably going too far.

Also note that if you are a remote worker paid on an hourly basis, your employer has the right–and the responsibility–to require you to maintain a daily log of your hours worked. This is necessary to ensure the employer’s compliance with Nevada wage and hour laws as described above.

Taking Steps to Protect Employer Data

That said, employers and employees alike need to take data protection seriously when it comes to remote work. All employers with remote workers should have a reliable, high-quality virtual private network (VPN). A VPN enables remote workers to securely connect to an employer’s internal network while minimizing potential exposure to outside attackers. Employers do have the right to require remote workers to only connect to their work through the VPN.

Employers can also require remote workers to use two-factor authentication (2FA) to log in to any work-related accounts, such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. 2FA imposes an additional level of security beyond a password to enable access to an account. While it is often seen as an inconvenience, it can help protect against unauthorized access to sensitive work information.

In many cases, Nevada employers will provide remote workers with dedicated computers and software to perform their jobs. Other employers may simply give employees an allowance to purchase their equipment. Keep in mind, however, that if you buy your equipment as an employee, you can still be held responsible for following all of the employer’s data protection policies.

Contact a Las Vegas Employment Attorney Today

Navigating the legal risks of remote work remains an evolving process in Nevada. If you have any questions or concerns about your own employer’s policies and how they affect your rights, call the Ace Law Group today at (702) 333-4223 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.