Can an employer require remote employees to have a certain level of internet service and security?
Question: Can an employer require remote employees to have a certain level of internet service and security?
Answer: Generally, yes. As an employer, you can protect the organization by ensuring that privacy and security concerns have been addressed, including specifying the remote access procedures requiring a certain level of internet service and security, and clearly setting out confidentiality obligations. You should also have policies to address confidentiality of electronic information, including basic issues such as who else will have access to equipment and accounts.
Employers should be careful not to infringe upon employees’ privacy rights in a manner that is more intrusive than needed to protect its business interests. For example, using surveillance applications to monitor employees, even if it is simply to ensure the security requirements are met, is likely to raise privacy concerns.
Requiring remote employees to have a certain level of internet service and security might lead to unexpected expenses for such employees and, accordingly, you may choose to compensate them. If you do so, you should clearly establish what will be covered and the procedure to be followed.
Importantly, it is not enough to simply have the policy in place. You should specify the potential consequences of violating such policy while retaining the discretion to implement various forms of discipline, as appropriate. You should also communicate and train employees on the policy in order to ensure that it is successfully implemented.
Stuart Rudner is the founder of Rudner Law, an employment law firm in Markham, Ont. He can be reached at [email protected] or (416) 864-8500. This article was co-authored by Nadia Zaman, an associate at Rudner Law. She can be reached at (416) 864-8503 or [email protected]