ERIC Number: EJ879130
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 14
The Anywhere Office = Anywhere Liability
Genova, Gina L.
Business Communication Quarterly, v73 n1 p119-126 2010
The 20th-century office is dead. According to "Telework Trendlines 2009," WorldatWork's new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, the number of Americans working remotely at least once a month jumped 39%, from 12.4 million in 2006 to 17.2 million in 2008. Last year Congress even introduced bills that would encourage and expand telework programs in the federal government. Although the disappearing office boundaries caused by technological advances have obvious benefits for employers and employees, something else is dissolving along with those cubicle walls: clear limit lines of employer liability. Human resources personnel and employment lawyers currently report a variety of fresh legal oddities now that the "anywhere office" is becoming the norm. Expanding areas are traditional theories, such as scope of employment, and overtime compensation when companies give portable communication or data devices to their employees, keeping them connected 24-7 like an electronic umbilical cord. Moreover, employers must not ignore the confidentiality concerns raised by these devices or the extension of workers' compensation coverage to the home office either--the courts certainly are not. By reviewing the legal trends emerging from these broad categories of "anywhere" liability, employers can anticipate exposure and develop policies to minimize it. In this article, the author explains how the "anywhere office" can equate to "anytime liability" for employers in the areas of overtime, employment tort liability, confidentiality breaches, and workers' compensation coverage for telecommuters. Although the anticipated growth in the mobile worker population will provide benefits to employers, companies must also be cognizant of the risks this mobility deployment will carry.
Descriptors: Working Hours, Teleworking, Employees, Courts, Confidentiality, Workers Compensation, Lawyers, Human Resources, Technological Advancement, Employer Employee Relationship, Employment, Legal Responsibility, Computer Storage Devices, Telecommunications, Handheld Devices, Disclosure, Workstations, Risk, Court Litigation, Labor Legislation, Employment Practices
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A