Employment Issues in the Digital World

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Employment Issues in the Digital World

If you have years of experience in the workplace, you know that it has changed dramatically during the last decade for both employers and employees. That changing landscape has cultivated a small minefield for the unwary employer.

In the ‘old days,’ if you were an employer. you ran an ad in the newspaper for a job position, received resumes in the mail, and scheduled an interview. You hired the person and they came to work at 9 a.m. and left at 5 p.m. Most of the time they didn’t take work home.

Not so today. With smart phones, tablets and other technology, you not only meet and hire potential employees in different ways, those employees also work in different ways.

These days, employees and employers use fast evolving technology for work. Employees can connect with work at virtually any time of the day or night; work and leisure lines have become blurred.

An employer has to ask what their legal responsibility and liability are these days with their employees, both full time and part time. If one of your employees is texting someone connected with your business on Sunday evening and crashes on the highway, what is the extent of your responsibility? Have you created fuzzy parameters? When does your business day begin and end in today’s techno world? Have you updated your employee handbook? Do you even have an employee handbook?

New technology is also creating a vast new breed of employee – the freelancer, the consultant, and the telecommuter. In fact, some employers may not have even met some of their own employees in this category.

So what is the extent of an employer’s responsibility to the remote employee?

For example, do you have worker’s compensation for these employees? What if they get injured doing a task for you? What if your remote employee is in Miami and you are headquartered in Phoenix? What jurisdiction or choice of law might prevail if there is a dispute?

What about wages and overtime? Do you have those subjects buttoned down?

The fact is that many existing labor laws simply do not fully take into consideration the ‘new’ workplace. Many laws are geared to the traditional workplace and more traditional business operations.

If you are an employer with full time employees, and perhaps some remote employees, you should make time to sit down with your attorney and make sure you have all your contingencies covered, including how to treat freelancers and consultants. There are penalties for employers who fail to classify employees properly, including hefty fines.

When you are facing any type of business dispute, you need an experienced Arizona trial attorney to obtain the best possible result. Contact Williams Commercial Law Group, L.L.P., at (602) 256-9400 to speak with us about your case.

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