Kagan Stern Partner Quoted in The Daily Record About Legal Risks in a Virtual Work Environment

February 28, 2022

     The Daily Record, a business and legal newspaper in the State of Maryland, published an article on February 22, 2022 entitled, “Rewards and Risks of Hiring in a Virtual Environment,” authored by Nick Stern.  The article examines various legal issues employers face when interviewing and employing individuals in a virtual (i.e., remote) work environment.  The Daily Record contacted Kagan Stern Partner, Stephen Stern (no relation to the author, Nick Stern), to get his perspective on some of these legal issues.  One of the issues addressed in the article was the uncertainty of which state’s laws will apply when an employee telecommutes from a jurisdiction where the company is not physically located.  Mr. Stern noted, “This is a new phase of life and we’re going to have to come to grips with it, as it may not be clear which state’s laws apply when you have employees telecommuting on a full-time or even a part-time basis from other jurisdictions.”  Another issue concerned whether telecommuting may constitute a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Mr. Stern noted that, although courts generally have been deferential to companies that have identified physical presence in the office as an essential job function, things may be different now.  He stated, “Now there may be a track record of showing that people can do these jobs remotely” and “[b]usinesses are going to have to take a hard look at what are the essential functions of a job, particularly if they’re requiring a physical return to the office.”  A number of other issues were discussed in the article.  A complete copy of the article can be found here.

     The Daily Record’s conversation with Mr. Stern stemmed in part from an article he previously wrote entitled, “Legal Implications of Maintaining ‘Virtual’ Work Arrangements.”  A copy of Mr. Stern’s prior article can be found here.