Liability Concerns from Working Remotely
As COVID-19 disrupts our economy, it’s been remarkable to watch how different businesses adapt to the new normal. Across the board, companies have been arranging their workforce for full-time remote work. These changes have been implemented with impressive efficiency, yet there are still significant areas to watch out for in terms of increased liability that comes along with a remote workforce.
- Privacy concerns. Does your virtual meeting software of choice track whether users are “paying attention” or not? Some programs will do this by informing the organizer when certain viewers don’t have the meeting or presentation in full screen for a certain amount of time. What about the data that the attendees are generating by using the software—is it being sent to any third parties for data mining? Are “private” chats being monitored?
- Cyber risks. Bad actors are already tying phishing and other types of messages to COVID-19 in order to entice clicks. For example, some phishing messages are even impersonating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization and offering “help” or “important updates” so that the reader clicks through. Is your workforce trained on how to resist these kinds of traps? Do all employees know to use private, secured Wi-Fi networks while working remotely? Have information technology business continuity plans been tested recently?
- Wage and hour exposures. Adjusting to remote work can make some routine timekeeping tasks more difficult. If you have workers that usually clock in and out in the office or at a worksite, are they set up to do this easily at home now? Do they know to still record their breaks as they would if they were in the office? When appropriate, are they being reimbursed for reasonable expenses that come along with working remotely?
- Workers compensation adjustments. When employees switch to working from home, some workers compensation insurers may want to change insureds’ classification codes.
For additional resources, visit IRMI’s frequently updated page that compiles several free online resources related to COVID-19.