Q&A: Which rules apply if working from home?

Clarifying With Your Employer Before Actions are Taken
Working from home can be quite confusing when it comes to contracts and one must clarify with his/her employer before any actions are to be taken. This is especially important if one decides to relocate their residence. With the wide spread of technology and easier telecommunication methods available all over the world, it is easy for employees to work from anywhere they like. However, it is up to the employer to agree to that arrangement, regardless of whether the employer might be saving costs by not maintaining a space for the employee at work.
Remote workers may be out of sight, but they are not out of mind for employers.
Just recently Yahoo! Inc. decided on a significant change, recalling all of its employees with work-from-home arrangements to return to the office setting. Although the employer has a right to determine how its business will be conducted, for employees who have been working from home for many years, mandating immediate change may not apply to them.
Risk Facing a Constructive Dismissal Claim
As Daniel Lublin, Toronto Employment Lawyer explained in his latest Globe and Mail article Work from Home? The same rules apply, if working remotely has become a key term of an employee’s job, and then an employer must provide reasonable notice of its intention to recall the employee, or risk facing a constructive dismissal claim. If a worker has the right to work from home, an employer cannot simply demand otherwise.
The Language of the Contact Dictates the Limits
The employer has, on the other hand, the right to demand that working-from–home is not conducted from anywhere in the world; if one decides to relocate to a new city, country, etc. In most cases the language of the contract would dictate the limits, but where there is no contract, it is possible that an employee working from home could work from anywhere, within reasonable limits.
Despite working remotely, and sometimes not coming into “work” at all, employees in these relationships are still workers under law. All of the same rights and obligations that they would otherwise have should continue unless – and there is always an exception in workplace law – a contract says otherwise.
The whole article can be read in Daniel’s Globe and Mail column, and to find out more about which rules apply when working from home, it is always best to consult with an employment expert.