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Canceling Remote Employee Status... Legal?

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  • Canceling Remote Employee Status... Legal?

    In an initial offer letter to one of my employees, one of the benefits offered was "Remote Employee Status".

    Does this guarantee that this position will always be remote? Or can I force this individual to either relocate or commute into the office? Working remotely isn't working well for numerous reasons. This individual lives 2 hours away. Both the company and the employee live in North Carolina.

    I know Yahoo essentially cancelled their remote employee program. I'm just curious as to whether I can do the same, given what was offered in the initial offer letter.

    The full benefit package is outlined below:

    - - - - - - - - -
    Should you accept this job offer, per company policy, you’ll be eligible to receive the following beginning on your hire date.

    • Salary: Full-time, exempt status with annual gross starting salary of $57,500.00, paid in 24 equal installments on the 15th and 30th day of every month, by check (or direct deposit as soon as this is established).

    • Benefits Package: In addition to your annual salary, you are being offered the following salaried-exempt employees beneftits package which includes the following:
    o 401(k) plan beginning in early 2013 (Employer contributes at least 3% of annual salary, immediately 100% vested)
    o Total of Two Weeks of PTO (10 days of annual PTO) and Paid Holidays (6 days)
    o Health Insurance Reimbursement in the amount of $250 per month
    o Internet / Communication Reimbursement in the amount of $50 per month
    o Reimbursement for Creative Cloud Subscription in the amount of $30 per moth
    o Remote Employee Status (work from home)

  • #2
    Offer letters very rarely rise to the level of a contract. Benefits can and do change at every company. Nothing that you wrote makes me think it rises to a contract. However, you are always better to caveat "at will" and changes when you can.

    What you might consider is some type of notice period in which the employee can work out the details rather than making it start immediately. And consider whether you could have him work remotely some of the time, because honestly a 4 hour commute is not reasonable.

    If he quits rather than commuting/moving, it is very possible he would be eligible for unemployment benefits since it is such a large change and is happening because of an employer decision.