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EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

6 things to do when remote workers want to move to another state

By Mike O’Brien

Is it a problem for a law office suddenly to have an unplanned, unexpected, and perhaps undesired branch office when an employee moves to another state? Yes!

The United States has a national government, state governments, and local governments. They each have powers over employers and make laws that typically apply to and protect people subject to the various jurisdictions. And these laws are not always uniform!

There is a lot of variation in state laws related to COVID-19, masks, vaccines, etc. Arizona law requires paid leave, Utah does not. Montana law prohibits age discrimination against any age, not just 40 and above, and also prohibits termination without “good cause” as defined by the statute. Utah does not do either of these things. Nevada law requires daily overtime (for more than 8 hours in a day), Utah law does not. Colorado law strictly limits the use of non-competes and makes violation of that law a crime. Not true in some other states.

What to do?

  1. Keep track of where employees actually live and work; require notice of a move out of state before it occurs.
  2. Condition employment on your right to decide whether the employee can work for you from anywhere. Ignorance is not a defense against violating local law.
  3. If you allow remote work, learn about and comply with applicable law
  4. . Employers should frequently check in with remote workers to verify their location and compliance with agreements.
  5. Update policies and handbooks on remote work rules. Offer letters and remote-work agreements should define where work can be done and should require permission before moving out of state.
  6. Be prepared to end relationships with workers who move to places that do not work for you.

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