Remote Workers and California Employment Law in 2020


Remote Workers and California Employment Law in 2020

Speaker Spotlight with Greg Labate 

Managing Remote Workers - Greg Labate's Session at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update

The benefits of workflex, remote work, and teleworking are crystal clear. Companies have reported increased productivity, engagement, and work-life balance, as well as reduced absenteeism, commuting time, and stress. (Reduced commutes are especially enticing for workers in Southern California, who deal with 3 of the top 10 worst commutes in the country!) According to Gallup, remote work opportunities are even expanding within industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and retail. So, telecommuting is a proven win-win when the job duties fit a remote context. However, how can HR successfully mitigate the legal risks involved?

Remote non-exempt employees are still subject to California employment laws and regulations, so full compliance requires a deeper dive. Greg Labate, Esq., partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, will lead HR professionals into the latest legal implications this January. Don’t miss his session Home Alone: Managing the Remote Workforce at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update so that you can confidently manage your remote work program.

Home Alone: Managing the Remote Workforce

The U.S. workforce is always evolving, and employers must be ready to face the challenges of managing their remote employees. In light of this, Mr. Labate’s presentation will cover issues employers face due to the growing number of employees that work from home. California employers must know how to manage the new remote workforce in order to offer competitive career opportunities for a new generation of employees. Meanwhile, HR must also be careful not to violate the complex California employment laws.

Mr. Labate will address topics such as:

  • reimbursement of home expenses; meal/rest period compliance;
  • tracking time worked away from the office;
  • compensable drive time;
  • risks created from remote access to company infrastructure;
  • remote workforce agreements;
  • and much more.

Mr. Labate’s PIHRA 2020 Legal Update session will be informative and entertaining. Moreover, it’s a must-attend for California employers who want to know about these cutting-edge issues. In addition, business owners and HR pros will learn how to manage your remote workforce, how to properly compensate your remote workforce. Above all, you’ll learn how to avoid lawsuits from employees who work remotely. 

Speaker Spotlight: Greg Labate, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

PIHRA: Why should everyone in HR be concerned with remote worker management?

Greg Labate, Esq.: The number of employees who are working remotely in this country has skyrocketed over the last few years, and that number is expected to grow exponentially. So, employers need to know how to manage their remote workforce in order to remain competitive in a changing marketplace. Most importantly, understanding this is crucial to avoid employee lawsuits due to mismanagement of these workers.

What’s the biggest misconception you’ve observed regarding the management of remote workforces?

Greg Labate, Esq.: The biggest misconception is that most employers believe that lack of supervision is the primary issue with remote workers. For example, proper supervision is often an issue. But there are a multitude of other traps for the unwary when managing the remote workforce. These traps include tax implications, reimbursement for home office use, workers’ compensation concerns, safety, wage/hour errors, and many other issues.

What specific elements of CA employment law make it critical for HR pros to understand how to handle remote employees?

Greg Labate, Esq.: Given California’s very strict and complicated wage/hour laws, including:

  • rules regarding meal periods,
  • rest periods,
  • de minimis time,
  • off the clock work,
  • reimbursement…

…and related issues, California employers are particularly vulnerable to claims for significant liability. This includes potential class action lawsuits, if they mismanage their remote workforce.

Why are you excited to present at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update?

Greg Labate, Esq.: I’m excited to present at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update because I have been speaking at PIHRA events for over 20 years, including giving the keynote address many times. In short, I enjoy providing practical legal advice to the diverse attendees at these events every year.

About Greg S. Labate, Esq, Labor & Employment Practice Group Leader at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Managing the Remote Workforce with Greg Labate at PIHRA 2020 Legal UpdateGreg S. Labate, Esq. is a partner with the law firm of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP in the firm’s Orange County office. He specializes in labor and employment law, and represents only employers in a wide range of industries. He has been the Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group for over 15 years. Mr. Labate provides general labor advice to employers, and regularly drafts employee handbooks, employment agreements, severance agreements and arbitration agreements for his clients.

Mr. Labate has extensive experience in defending employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, breach of contract, defamation. In addition, his experience covers workplace violence, wage claims, trade secrets, employee raiding, and other related matters. He is a trial attorney who has had great success defending his clients in court. Mr. Labate also specializes in defending employers in wage and hour class action lawsuits, with an emphasis on class actions in the restaurant, mortgage/banking, aerospace, and manufacturing industries. Mr. Labate’s clients include Hyundai, Marriott, Lawry’s, Safran Aerospace, Harbor Freight Tools, Banc of California, Hillstone Restaurants, T-Mobile, Mechanics Bank and many more.

Mr. Labate grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College, and received his law degree from UCLA Law School. He is a frequent lecturer, and has given the keynote address at PIHRA seminars many times. Mr. Labate is an avid scuba diver and a gourmet chef.

Is it time to renew your PIHRA membership?

This special offer (for active PIHRA members only) also ends January 30, 2020:

Check out our Legal Update Renewal Bundles for Active PIHRA Members!


Choose from 5 convenient locations! Lodging discounts available.

Rancho Mirage (½-Day) | Riverside | La Jolla | Anaheim | Burbank

Experience a comprehensive California legal update with PIHRA! In the world of human resources, staying ahead of constantly evolving employment laws and workplace legislation is essential. Certainly, PIHRA’s most famous flagship program will provide timely information, tips and crucial resources. Our expert speakers will help you cut through the complexity, so that you can protect your organization and effectively manage risk. 

→ Register today! (Group discounts available)


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