"Changing Currents in Employment Law" is the D.C. Bar's annual three-hour event featuring legal updates and practice tips from the area's top employment attorneys — all for CLE credit. TELG's Scott Oswald serves as faculty chair and will moderate the event on October 25, 2022. Here he previews the panel on the legal implications of remote work with panelist Carter DeLorme of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
This video interview by
TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by The Employment Law Group, P.C. on August 2, 2022.
» “Changing Currents in Employment Law” will take place on October 25, 2022. Click here for more details and registration options.
(Transcribed and edited lightly by The Employment Law Group)
R. Scott Oswald: Welcome to our preview of this year’s “Changing Currents in Employment Law,” the D.C. Bar’s three-hour fast-paced fall CLE that previews cutting-edge topics in employment law from both the management and employee side perspectives.
I’m Scott Oswald. I am faculty chair of “Changing Currents in Employment Law,” and I am joined by Carter DeLorme. He is a partner at Epstein Becker & Green.
Carter, how are you?
Carter DeLorme: Scott, I’m great. How are you?
Oswald: I’m really well. You’re speaking on a panel entitled, “Here, There, and Everywhere: The Legal Challenges of a Permanently Remote Workforce.”
We know that when the pandemic hit, companies quickly had to adapt to the work-from-home model, and now companies are grappling with the fact that their employees are sometimes in far-flung locations. Give us kind a top-level overview of your topic and tell us about your co-panelist.
DeLorme: Thanks, Scott. You know, it’s interesting. I’ve spent most of my 25-year career telling management clients, “Sure, you can tell people that they have to come to the office and work. It’s a necessary, bona fide job qualification.”
Well, COVID has changed all of that. I, literally yesterday, was on a call with a new client, trying to wrestle with the issue of what segment of their workforce needs to be there permanently because they’re client-facing, client-engaging and what segment of the workforce can be working remotely and how do you manage those situations.
I look forward to sitting down with Barbara Queen, who is a preeminent plaintiff-side lawyer, and talking from both perspectives because this is really sort of a collaborative issue as opposed to some of the combative issues that we have on the management and employee sides.
Oswald: So, give us like a checklist, maybe a few of the things that are kind of at the top of the checklist that you’re going over with your clients right now.
DeLorme: Well, the number one issue when you have a remote workplace is whether we are dealing with exempt employees or we are dealing with non-exempt employees. If we’re dealing with non-exempt employees, we have to be very particular about what is work and what is not work because good folks like you and your colleagues and Barbara as well know fully that if I ask you to jump on an email here or I ask you to follow up with something there, that’s compensable time. So, we have to be able to track that. That’s at the top of my list.
Oswald: So, let’s say a company comes to you and says, “This prized employee wants to move to Massachusetts or Maine or somewhere else. Should I let them, and what does that mean for my business?”
What do you tell them?
DeLorme: To be honest, Scott, normally, what I hear from clients is, “I just found out this employee has been working from Maine. What does that mean for me? Do our D.C. laws apply? Do Maine laws apply?”
Honestly, it’s a tapestry. At my firm, we’re really working on trying to nail down all 50 states – and in some cases, some international issues – to figure out what happens when your employee says, “Yeah, I’m still going to work for you. Yeah, I’m still creating work product every day. I’m just not doing it from D.C., Maryland, Virginia. I’m doing it from West Virginia or, you know, Waikiki.”
Oswald: I am really looking forward to this panel, Carter. Thank you so much for putting it together with Barbara.
We look forward to seeing all of you on Tuesday, October 25th at 6 p.m. this year in person at the D.C. Bar headquarters and also via Zoom remotely. You can register using the CLE tab at dcbar.org.