Cheryl Wilke Co-Authors CLM Magazine Article on Workers’ Compensation and Remote Work Arrangements
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (September 14, 2023) – Fort Lauderdale Co-Managing Partner Cheryl Wilke recently co-authored an article for Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) Magazine, titled “Injured at Home,” which discusses workers’ compensation claims in the context of remote work arrangements.
Ms. Wilke and her co-author, a director of risk management at Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, open the article by outlining various remote work models that employers have adopted since the COVID-19 pandemic. They point out that the flexible hybrid arrangement – in which employees work remotely on some days and in the office on others – has become the most common model. The authors go on to describe issues that risk managers must consider with respect to employees’ office and home workspaces, noting that an employee’s home “is now likely considered a work environment from a workers’ compensation perspective on the days they are remote.” Next, the authors address the law – including relevant court decisions from New York, Kentucky, and Florida – regarding workers’ compensation claims arising from injuries that employees sustain while working from home. They explain, “Most states require work-related injuries to be both in the ‘course’ and ‘scope’ of employment.”
Ms. Wilke and her co-author also describe how employers may reduce litigation risks for employees who work from home, noting that “[t]he most important process is a work safety checklist that includes requirements for employees to have a safe, designated work area clear of trip hazards with computer, chair, and keyboard set up ergonomically.” In addition, the authors recommend executing “a work-at-home agreement clearly identifying the employee’s work schedule, expected availability during business hours, and designated work area.” They close the article by observing, “As we all know, prevention is the best way to mitigate workers’ compensation costs. . . .”
Ms. Wilke is the vice chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Labor & Employment Practice and a member of the firm’s Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practice. She focuses in the areas of employment law as well as government contractor compliance and business litigation for mid-market and national businesses. In addition, Ms. Wilke has extensive experience handling all types of commercial litigation in federal and state courts.
Read the full CLM Magazine article here.