THE EMERGING PANDEMIC WORKPLACE: As we are emerging from the pandemic (fingers crossed…knock on wood…carrying a rabbit’s foot), a new sort of workplace is emerging, one dominated by remote working, employees moving without telling their employers, new forms of harassment, unique (and perhaps deceptive) forms of moonlighting and lots of new scenarios to which human resources folks and business owners must apply the old familiar employment laws. To paraphrase a line from the Hamilton musical, it’s the HR world turned upside down. Are you ready for it? Keep reading.

IT’S TEN O’CLOCK, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE? According to a recent Bloomberg article, the share of HR professionals confident they knew where the majority of their employees were working recently declined from 60% in 2021 to 46% Why? Since 2020, about 2.4% of Americans, or 4.9 million people, have moved because of remote work. Polling shows the migration will continue. Almost one in 10 Americans plan to move in order to work remotely, and since January 2020, U.S. monthly remote job postings have tripled. Some employers are waking up from the nightmare of the pandemic to find that they have a new unexpected branch office in another state, or even country. Is that a problem? Yes! Each state has its own laws regulating employment, business licenses, taxes, etc., and a company’s ignorance of their substance or applicability is no excuse. In short, you need to know where your employees are working and comply with applicable laws.

ZOOMING TO HARASSMENT: Many people thought harassment would decrease with more people working remotely. Time to think again. Respondents in two recent surveys reported a 25% increase in gender-based harassment during the last two years, and another survey showed a 23% increase in age-based harassment. According to a Deloitte survey, 52% of women say they experienced a form of harassment in 2021. Whether it’s inappropriate text comments or half-naked co-workers on Zoom, the emerging evidence is that harassment likely held steady or increased during the pandemic. You need to adjust and be sure you are applying the old familiar laws prohibiting harassment in the new, and somewhat unfamiliar, context of a remote workplace.

MOONLIGHT MADNESS: Moonlighting has been around for a long time, but the current phenomenon of some workers holding two full-time jobs at the same time and not telling their employers is a maddening new development. In fact, a recent survey by Resume Builder found almost 70% of remote workers had a second job with 37% of them saying the second job was full-time. There is even a website, called overemployed.com, to help people with this new form of moonlighting and addressing topics like how not to get caught. You need to be ready to detect and confront the new post-pandemic form of moonlighting in your workplace.

SHARED MISERY AND SHARED SOLUTIONS: You do not have to be miserable – or worry about these problems – alone. How to respond to the new post-pandemic emerging workplace is just one of the many interesting topics that Parsons Behle & Latimer lawyers will address at the firm’s 34th annual Employment Law Seminar, set for June 16, 2022 at the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center. More information here. Come join your HR and legal colleagues and, among other things, hear some ideas for how to deal with that vexing employee who just moved to Minnesota without telling you, who is secretly moonlighting two jobs and who is virtually harassing co-workers…all at the same time.