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Riverside County Employment Lawyers > Blog > Employment Lawyer For Employers > Which Employment Laws Apply When an Employer in California Hires a Remote Worker?

Which Employment Laws Apply When an Employer in California Hires a Remote Worker?


Remote work is on the rise. According to data cited by Forbes magazine, 12 percent of full-time U.S. workers are fully remote. Another 28 percent of full-time employees work under a hybrid model. This raises an important question for an employer: What employment laws apply if you hire a fully remote worker in another state? The short answer is that remote employees are generally subject to the laws in the state in which they are actually working. However, the California based employer still must follow certain California laws, for example, issuing correct wage statements, reimbursing business expenses employees incur, etc. Here, our California employment law attorney highlights key things employers in our state should know about the applicability of employment laws when they hire remote workers.

 Understanding the Source of Employment Law: Federal, State, and Sometimes Local 

Employment law is complex—especially for multi-state employers and companies that rely on a remote workforce. There are several different layers of labor/employment law. Your company may be subject to regulations at the federal, state, and even local level. Key federal laws—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), etc.—provide a broad framework that applies across states. California is one of many states with significantly more stringent employment regulations that go beyond federal standards. Beyond that, some municipalities in California also have additional requirements.

 The Baseline for Fully Remote Workers: Subject To Laws Where They Actually Work 

Federal law always applies to remote workers within the United States. What happens if you hire a fully remote worker in another state? The short answer is that the employee will be subject to the employment laws of the state the employee performs their work, not the state where company is headquartered.

For example, imagine an employer in California hires a remote worker to do IT support. That worker resides in Nevada and does all of their work in Nevada. In that circumstance, it will generally be the employment laws of Nevada—not California—that govern that specific employee’s relationship with the company. Some examples of employment issues governed by the employee’s residence include workers’ compensation, discrimination and harassment, contractor rights, etc.

Employers Should Proactively Ensure Full Compliance When Using Fully Remote Staff 

Proactive compliance is a must. It is especially vital for companies that rely on remote employees who live in other jurisdictions. Along with other things, a California employer should set up systems to monitor the varying employment laws in each state where their remote workers reside. It may be best for an employer to implement uniform policies that meet the highest standard of relevant employment laws across all states. In some cases, consistent policies can help to simplify compliance efforts. Although every employer has its own unique needs, an experienced attorney can help.

Get Help From an Employment Law Attorney in California Today

At the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat, APC, we work proactively to help employers find viable workplace solutions. Do you have questions about an employment law matter related to remote workers? We are here to help. Contact us today for a completely confidential initial consultation. With an office in Riverside County, our firm works with employers throughout California.



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