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OSHA Exempts Home Offices From Regulation

January 2000 (updated)
Greenberg Traurig, Tysons Corner Office

Assistant Labor Secretary Charles Jeffress testifies before Congress that OSHA will not hold employers liable for work activites in employee’s home offices

GT offers practical tips to Employers to manage work-at-home arrangements

OSHA’s New Position

In a dramatic reversal, OSHA now takes the position that the Occupational Safety and Health Act does not apply to employee’s work in home offices. OSHA inspectors will not inspect home offices. Home manufacturing operations will continue to be covered, however.

Practical Tips for Employers

OSHA regulation is not the only legal concern for employers whose employees work at home. GT recommends that employers who have or are considering allowing employees to work at home should take steps now to protect themselves from liability by considering the following:

  • Where an employee works at home on a regular basis consider using a written agreement spelling out the terms and conditions of when, where and under what conditions the employee will work at home and providing indemnification of the employer by the employee from claims relating to the employee’s home office
  • Except for possible ADA accommodation requirements an employer generally has no obligation to allow an employee to work at home, although any policy on at home work must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner
  • Be sure that your worker’s compensation insurance covers your employees when they are working at home
  • Consider having written guidelines for employees who work at home
  • If the employee requests to work at home for medical reasons consider asking the employee to have his or her physician approve the hours and working conditions for the employee


© 2000 Greenberg Traurig

This GT ALERT is issued for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed or used as general legal advice. Greenberg Traurig attorneys provide practical, result-oriented strategies and solutions tailored to meet our clients’ individual legal needs.