Melissa Atkins Weighs In on Workers’ Legal Responses to Office Mandates in The Washington Post

May 07, 2024

In The Washington Post‘s May 6, 2024 article titled “Employees React to Office Mandates with Legal Action,” Melissa Atkins, a labor and employment partner at Obermayer, shared her perspective on employers’ directives for employees to return to the office.

As companies enforce strict office mandates nationwide, more workers are filing complaints with federal labor agencies like the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They argue that these mandates can discriminate against and retaliate against unionization efforts. Meanwhile, employers defending their return-to-office policies argue that being physically present fosters company culture, collaboration, and productivity.

During the interview, Melissa pointed out that employers are mainly focused on their management rights rather than the potential legal consequences when crafting these policies.

“It’s a management right to change a policy,” Atkins said. Absent a collective bargaining agreement that hinges on the ability to work from home, or employers breaking contracts guaranteeing flexible work, “I can’t really see any real legal basis to challenge these policies.”

Melissa emphasizes that workers challenging office mandates in court will face significant hurdles.

Read the full article here