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  • Tips for Reopening Your Workplace

    By  CalChamber  - May 6, 2020

    In this episode of The Workplace podcast, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank, and employment law expert Jennifer Shaw offer tips and insights on how employers can prepare to bring teleworkers back into the office once COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are lifted.

    Set Expectations for Returning to Work

    Some employees who are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic may assume that since they have been performing their duties from home to the satisfaction of their employer, they may continue to work from home once the office reopens and may ask if they can continue to telework, Frank says.

    Employers are not legally required to allow employees to telework unless there is an accommodation issue, Shaw explains. And even if there is an accommodation request, some essential job duties cannot be performed from home, and thus the request may sometimes be denied.

    The COVID-19 crisis, however, has complicated the “essential job duties” reasoning since workers who have not traditionally been afforded the ability to work from home are now doing so. Due to this, Shaw recommends that employers think ahead and avoid making comments such as, “It’s amazing how you can do every part of your job from your living room!”

    Reopening the Office

    Now is the time for employers to think about and plan for how they will reopen their office once stay-at-home orders are lifted, Shaw says.

    Frank emphasizes that it’s particularly hard to plan because there are so many unknowns and so much piecemealing of laws throughout the state.

    In California, orders will be lifted in phases and will be industry specific, Shaw says. Therefore, the way a business reopens will depend on the type of business it is.  Read More