Employment Lawyer on Remote Worker Return: Global BC Interview

Headshot of employment lawyer Lior Samfiru to the left of the Global News logo, which hovers above a dark blue band across the bottom of the image bearing the Samfiru Tumarkin LLP logo.

The provincial government in British Columbia has lifted at-home work restrictions across the province. As a result, employees who were working remotely could now be requested to return to the office. What will this mean for employees who no longer wish to work at the workplace?

A Vancouver employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP informed Global News BC that employees might not have a choice.

“Employees don’t have much in terms of rights in this situation. An employer has the sole right to determine where an employee will do their work,” said the lawyer.

Returning to the office

They go on to encourage employers to have discussions with their employees regarding their concerns and preferences. “There is nothing in the law that requires employers to be sympathetic. But as a business perspective, I would encourage them to be kind and sympathetic.”

Employees who feel unsafe or are unsure about returning to the workplace due to the pandemic as well as those who have childcare obligations also need to be assured proper steps are being taken. The lawyer reiterates that employers do have a duty to accommodate.

“If you have moved around your schedule to find child care and there is no other opportunity for you, your employer will be legally required to work with you on that,” they said.

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