Remote forced labor? – Bartosz Tomanek’s Commentary in Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (Daily Legal Newspaper)
In today’s issue of Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, an article was published under the headline “Remote work? Companies are Already Limiting their Risk of Disease” including comments by Bartosz Tomanek, a senior associate at SSW Pragmatic Solutions.
To prevent the spreading of the coronovirus epidemic, preventive measures such as checking temperature and wearing masks have been undertaken, and this has now been extended to the obligation to working remotely after cases coronovirus in Europe.
Is such action legal?
The employment contract not only implies an obligation, but also the employee’s right to perform work at the place and time agreed with the employer. The outbreak of coronovirus or even influenza is an emergency, and the employer who has a duty to care for safe and hygienic conditions of work to protect the lives and health of employees has the right to issue a remote work order to the employee, and the employee should follow it.
However, you should inform the employee in advance about such a decision, so that he or she does not go to the company headquarters for nothing, and, in addition to this:
“It is worth explaining that this is not [action] directed against him or her [the employee], but only aims to fulfill the health and safety obligations imposed on the employer by law. This will minimize the risk of misunderstanding and conflict in this context,” argues Bartosz Tomanek.
What else can the employer do?
Ask employees to increase hygiene and alertness so that they react to suspicious situations.
Also, in the opinion of Bartosz Tomanek, employers may consider granting overdue leave to employees who have returned from countries affected by coronary viruses (such as China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Italy).
“Such activities can be considered as one of the preventive forms associated with taking care of safe and hygienic conditions of other employees,” emphasizes Bartosz Tomanek.
Lawyers, however, advise the use of the above-mentioned preventive measures only in justified cases and exceptional situations.