Can an employer force you to work from home

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Can an employer force you to work from home

My company is giving workers laptops so that they can work from home in the event
that the office is closed due to bad weather. This would be done using my own
internet that I pay for. I do not want to work from home and never signed
anything stating I was willing to work from home. They are saying that if we do
not work from home we will be forced to use one of our vacation days, whereas in
the past we were still paid and not forced to use a vacation day. Are they
allowed to do this? I am a ‘non-exempt’ worker.

Asked on November 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract or union agreement prohibits this action, you are an "at will" employee. This means that your employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes not only having you work from home but also using your vacation time if you do not do so. The fact is that vacaton time is not legally mandated so to the extent that a company chooses to provide it, it has a great deal of say over when and how it is to be used. As for using your own personal internet, you can be required to use it and without compnesation, just like when a company does reimburse for mileage.
That all having been said, if you agree to work from home, as a non-exempt worker, you are to be compensated for all hours that you work; to the exent that this places you over 40 hours in a work week you are entitled to overtime pay.


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