Travelling remote worker unknowingly cost his employers $5,00,000

The worker had worked from two states where his employer wasn’t registered


When an engineer at GravyWork, a Virginia-based startup in the US, travelled to California and Texas while working remotely, he had no idea that this would cost his Company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The said employee had not informed his firm that he was travelling to California and Texas. He continued to work from both these locations like a dutiful employee, but he had no clue that GravyWork wasn’t registered in either state. This caused major issues.

Not only did the Company receive a notice from California and Texas, but it had to pay up $30,000 in fine, taxes and registration fee. The time and effort that went into settling the issue cost the Company a total of about $5,00,000.

While the Company is not stopping employees from working remotely, it has now come up with a rule that those travelling while working remotely will be treated as independent contractors.

Remote working does have its challenges. In India, those companies that are registered as ‘other service providers or as information technology companies have to follow certain guidelines/ protocols with regard to remote work.

Additionally, now, the law has been modified such that any place where the employee is working, be it home or any location, is considered ‘workplace’ under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Last year, that is, in 2021, the Labour Ministry had asked all state governments and Union Territories to encourage employers to allow nursing mothers to work from home, if the nature of work allowed it. As per the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 women who have returned from maternity, and whose nature of work is such that it may be performed remotely, are allowed to work remotely on mutually accepted terms and conditions.

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