We are now living in a profoundly new world where many workplaces are being transitioned to teleworking with limited planning or time to test systems. This rapid shift brings challenges that must be addressed and resolved from both a legal and operations standpoint.
- Confidential Information and Data Privacy Issues. One of the major issues is how do you protect your company and third party’s confidential information and data if your employees are working remotely. For your employees, you should implement procedures and policies governing your employee’s remote working and require them to enter into a non-disclosure agreement. You also need to ensure that network and equipment is up to date and properly protected from potential breaches. Finally, you should discuss the added new wrinkle with your insurance broker to ensure you have appropriate insurance coverage. Even if these measures are already in place, clearly communicate expectations to your employees in writing, reminding them that existing policies apply when they work from home and addressing temporary policies specific to your business needs.
- Notice Provisions. If your office is closed, a common question is how do you receive mail and packages? While some offices have a skeleton staff to collect mail and complete other administrative tasks, that is not always possible and items may fall through the cracks. Legally, it may mean that you have trouble giving or receiving legal notice under a contract. As you figure out these logistics, please ensure that you are following your contracts regarding pertinent notice provisions. Going forward you may also want to add that notice can be sent electronically with a follow-up by mail.
- Electronic Signatures. While electronic signatures are not new, more companies will be utilizing vendors to electronically sign contracts and other documents. Under relevant law, Generally, a signature may not be denied legal effect solely because it is in electronic form. Even in some cases where a notary is required, Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, has issued an order allowing notary to be done electronically. While companies should ensure that its procedures are compliant with the applicable law, many signatures can be and should be obtained electronically.
As you navigate this changing landscape, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions – Ginny Cascio Bonifacino at firstname.lastname@example.org or Natasha M. Nazareth at email@example.com.