Can an employer force you to work from home

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


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

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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