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California Remote Employee Laws – Working From Home Laws Explained

Emanuel Shirazi

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how Americans work. Despite the challenges of the early days of isolation and later social distancing, remote work has become increasingly popular. As companies realize the benefits of no overhead and employee flexibility, more and more workers are working remotely instead of reporting to an office. This change has altered the way that businesses around the world operate and opened many questions about how remote work relates to employment law.

If you are a remote worker, you still have rights that are protected under California law. Unfortunately, working from home has allowed some employers to take advantage of their employees.

At-Will Employment

As with nearly all states in the United States, California practices at-will employment. This means that an employer has the right to hire, fire, demote, or change an employee’s job without cause. However, they may not do so for a protected cause, such ason the basis of race, gender, age, etc.

If you have been asked to work from home or are being asked to return to the office, be sure to check your contract. In most cases, an employer may change the details of your job as they see fit. If you have questions, be sure to talk to aLos Angeles, CA employment lawyerright away.

Independent Contractor Designations

Working from home is not the same as being an independent contractor. Independent contractors take on companies as their clients, bill clients themselves, and pay their own payroll taxes. If an employer has independent contractors on staff, there are strict rules that they must follow. Employers cannot designate employees as independent contractors without affording them the benefits of the working arrangement, such as schedule freedom and job flexibility.

If you are working from home, be sure that your job designation is correct. If you have been switched to an independent contractor when your job or expectations have not changed, you likely have cause to take legal action. Listing employees as independent contractors is a way that employers steal money from employees and avoid their obligations to them.

Business Expenses

Remote workers often need to use personal resources to do their jobs. California law requires that employers either reimburse or provide per diems for all business-related expenses that they incur. This may include costs such as new workstations, wi-fi costs, supplies, and other expenses.

If you are not an independent contractor but are working from home, be sure to discuss reimbursement with your employer. They may have a specific system or method for reimbursement that can affect what you are able to buy and how much you must pay.

Legal Concerns

As with any job, employers of remote workers must outline job descriptions and expectations for telecommuting. This includes information about how to log hours, identify tasks that must be completed, and other key information. Your employer may have you sign a new contract that outlines the terms of your ability to work from home.

In all employment scenarios, it is to your benefit to have an employment attorney assess your contract and ensure its validity and fairness. If you have questions or concerns about your contract, do not sign anything until your legal representative has reviewed it.

If you have conflicts or concerns with your job, even as a remote worker, it is to your benefit tospeakwith an Experienced Los Angeles Employment Lawyer. Many workers do not understand their rights and are therefore unable to enforce them when their employer tries to take advantage of their labor.


Q: What Are the Employment Law Changes for 2023 in California?

A:As of January 1, 2023, the minimum wage for all employees is $15.50. In Los Angeles and many other cities, the minimum wage is higher. Effective July 1, 2023, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles will be $16.78 an hour.

If your employer is paying you less than that or is attempting to tell you that you are not eligible for this rate, contact an employment attorney right away. They may be trying to take advantage of you or steal from you and your family, which is illegal and punishable by law. Additionally, businesses that employ 15 or more employees must list their salary ranges publicly.

Q: Do California Laws Apply to Remote Employees?

A:Yes. Just because you work from home does not mean that you do not have employee rights. Remote workers have the same rights as those who go to an office, though some laws are less relevant to remote work. Discrimination, wrongful termination, wage and hour disputes, and all other employment law issues can arise between employers and remote workers just as they can with workers who report to an office or workplace.

Q: Will Remote Work End in 2024?

A:Some employers are making the decision to reopen offices and workplaces in 2024, while others are not. California is an at-will employment state, meaning that an employer is permitted to make these types of changes as they wish. Similarly, an employee may quit if they wish to do so without cause. If you are concerned or confused about your workplace’s remote work policy, speak directly with your employer about their plan for this year and beyond.

Q: Does My Employer Have to Reimburse Me for Working From Home in California?

A:Yes, California employers must reimburse workers for necessary expenses associated with remote working. This includes wi-fi, internet, and phone bills. If your employer requires you to buy other equipment to work from home, they are also obligated to reimburse you for these expenses. Keep all receipts associated with your remote work, and contact an employment attorney if you believe that you are not being properly compensated or reimbursed for your remote work expenses.

Contact Shirazi Law Firm, PC

The team at Shirazi Law Firm, PC, has many years of experience in employment law. For many years, we worked for employers, so we have a thorough understanding of their obligations and responsibilities. Now, we use this knowledge to represent employee rights and ensure that California employers treat their employees fairly and according to the law.

If you are having an employment issue, or believe that your employer is acting illegally,contact Shirazi Law Firm, PC, right away.

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