On August 17th, 2020, the website HR Dive published a question from an employer regarding an issue that many workplaces are currently facing. More specifically, the employer stated that their entire company is working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic; do they still have to follow government agency notice requirements?
Posting Notices During COVID-19
Even though employees may be working from home, it is still necessary for employers to comply with any notice posting requirements that they fall under. According to attorney and Fisher Phillips partner Kevin Troutman, however, employers “have to take into account all the changes that have occurred.” These changes include the shift in working at a physical site to working remotely. A solution to making sure that employees are getting the most up-to-date notice information is to not only post it at the worksite but also follow up with electronic versions.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, and workers remain remote, some government agencies may begin adding provisions into their posting instructions allowing employers easier ways to meet requirements. One way could be to deliver the information electronically. For example, in April when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released notice requirements for the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), they included an electronic delivery provision. As explained in the new federal paid leave mandate’s guidance:
Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.
Given that the FFCRA was passed at a time when workplaces began to go remote, the inclusion of an electronic delivery mandate is not too surprising. There are a number of statutes with posting requirements, however, that were written before the pandemic and even before the prevalence of electronic communication. It is important for employers to be familiar with each specific statute they have to comply with and to be aware of any posting requirements associated with each. Employers need to continue to physically post any required notices, but may also want to consider sending or posting the notices on an electronic platform. Electronic distribution can help to ensure that all remote employees stay informed of new or updated legal information that affects them.