Telecommuting Agreement Drafting Considerations: Part 1

Law360 Employment Authority

Jeffrey H. Ruzal and Carly Baratt, attorneys in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, co-authored an article in Law360 Employment Authority, titled “Telecommuting Agreement Drafting Considerations: Part 1.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

This article addresses the purposes for entering into telecommuting agreements — also known as teleworking and remote working agreements — and the essential components of these agreements, as well as practical drafting suggestions and tips.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting shelter-in-place orders have forced numerous employers throughout the U.S. to implement or expand telecommuting programs.

Such programs generally permit employees to work from home, subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in a telecommuting policy and in a written telecommuting agreement between the employer and the telecommuting employee.

A telecommuting agreement is meant to supplement, not replace, an existing employment agreement.

However, it will often include, and nearly always reference, terms and conditions from the employment agreement, such as restrictions on sharing confidential information, compensation arrangements, and termination.

Telecommuting agreements will also typically reference and incorporate an employer's existing internal policies and protocols. However, because the nature of remote work — i.e., work performed outside the office creates a unique set of risks from an employer's perspective, a telecommuting agreement serves a separate and distinct purpose from a general employment agreement.

Therefore, employment counsel must prepare an unambiguous and comprehensive telecommuting agreement with the same care as it would with a standard employment agreement.

This article is the first part of two-part series.