Much has been written in recent years about the benefits and pitfalls associated with employee telecommuting arrangements. Many factors — including technological advances in remote access to company electronic systems and lengthening commutes — have fueled both the desire by employees to secure part-time or full-time telecommuting arrangements, and the willingness of employers to grant them. In addition, employers are taking a fresh look at telecommuting policies in response to an increased focus on pandemic planning. As a result of these and other factors, telecommuting arrangements have increased substantially throughout the country.

This article focuses on key legal duties engendered by telecommuting arrangements; the significant legal risks triggered by regularly or periodic work-at-home arrangements; and practical steps employers can take to mitigate these risks.