Home and Mobile Offices: What's the Law?

Improvements in technology have given employees more freedom than ever before. Employees are now able to work at home, in their car, or at the gym. But this freedom comes with a cost: work encroaches on personal and family time, and expensive laptops and smartphones are now indispensable.


Many employees do not know that their employer must pay them for all the time they spend working, even if that work is performed outside the office. So, for example, if you are a non-exempt (hourly) employee and you read company emails, respond to texts, or access your employer’s computer network after hours, you must be paid for that time.

Also, if you use your personal cellphone or computer for work, your employer must reimburse you for the use of your property. This applies to both exempt and non-exempt employees. Recently, a California court ruled that an employer was required to pay a portion of its employees’ cellphone bills because the employees regularly used their personal phones for work.