BC Employment lawyer on employee rights while working remotely

Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru's headshot next to 980 CKNW, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP logos

With continuing cases of COVID-19 across the province, more health and safety restrictions have been implemented forcing employees to work from home if possible. Have employment laws changed to accommodate working remotely? What are employers permitted to request and monitor while employees working from home?

A Vancouver employment lawyer and associate at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP joins Mike Smyth on Global News Radio’s 980 CKNW to answer these questions and more.

What They Discussed

Are employees allowed to work at a park or beach while working from home?

Employees are allowed to re-locate while working from home as long as the location is not outside of the province of their employer. There are different laws that apply to different provinces or countries.

Can your employer monitor your productivity while working remotely?

Employers are permitted to track employees if they have provided employees with their own work devices that have tracking software installed. Employees do not have to accept the software. Employers legally have to disclose to employees that tracking software is installed upon work devices.

Will employees face consequences if found to be deceiving their employer by not truly working while at home?

Ultimately employees should perform the duties that are part of their job description. Deceiving an employer will break down the employment relationship.

What is the status of sick pay in British Columbia?

Provincially, under the Employment Standards Act, there is currently unlimited COVID-related sick leave in British Columbia. Employees who need to be vaccinated can also take time off in order to receive the vaccine and recover.

Can an employer terminate an employee that refuses to be vaccinated?

Employers cannot force employees to be vaccinated however there will have to be a balance between employee obligations and employer accommodations. Employers are obligated to provide a healthy and safe workplace for all employees. Employees who refuse to be vaccinated might have to take a leave and follow all possible health and safety regulations.

My daughter was exposed to a COVID-19 positive person and had to self isolate. She’s been fired as a result. Does she have any recourse?

Employees are obligated to follow health and safety guidelines and cannot be penalized for doing so. Employees who are terminated for an illness or quarantining can pursue a legal claim as the reason for dismissal was a violation of the human rights code. Employees who are terminated without cause are entitled to severance pay.

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