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Human Resources Desk Guide (HRDG)

Subchapter 4368
Telework Program

Section H - Liability

 

 

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Introduction This Section describes liability and security issues applicable to employees participating in the Telework program.
Federal Employees Compensation Act

Employees working at home or at a satellite office are covered under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (Workers' Compensation). Provided they are within the terms of the Telework Agreement and within the parameters of the program, participants can qualify for payment as a result of on-the-job injury or occupational illness.

An employee who is receiving payments from the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (Workers' Compensation) must have the counselor send the appropriate approval, release forms, and medical documentation to the program's Telework coordinator before the employee may be considered for participation. Any physical modifications or equipment installation (as required by the U.S. Department of Labor) must be made to the employee's residence by the employee before participating in the telework program.

Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act

The Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act of 1964 authorizes the head (or designee) of each agency to pay claims up to $40,000 for damages to, or loss of, personal property which occur while the employee is working at home. A claim must be by a member of the uniformed services or a civilian officer or employee and must be for damage or loss to personal property used for official business. (Questions on the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act should be directed to the MRPBS Financial Management Division - Billings and Collections Team (BCT) - Claims).

A claim is allowable only if the damage was not caused in whole or in part by the negligence or wrongful act of the claimant. The loss or damage must have occurred while the employee was working at home. In addition, a claim may not be allowed if the personal property damage or loss occurred at quarters that were not assigned or provided by the Government.

Federal Tort Claims Act

The Federal Tort Claims Act is concerned with suits filed by third parties against the Federal Government for negligence or wrongful acts by its employees. In order to establish that the Government is responsible, three conditions must be satisfied:

  • Any monetary claim arising out of injury, death, or property damage suffered by a third party must have been caused by negligence, wrongful act, or omission by a Government employee;
  • The employee must have been acting within the scope of his/her employment at the time of injury; and
  • The right (if any) of the third party to obtain relief is determined by the law of the location where the negligent act or omission occurred.

 

An employee who suffers damage or injury to his/her home caused by Government equipment may have a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The employee is required to show that the Government was negligent (e.g., failing to warn of some known defect.)
Third parties, such as family members and tenants of the building, who suffer injuries or damages as the result of an accident involving agency equipment used at home, could file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. They are required to show that injuries were not caused by the negligence of a Government employee.

Questions on the Federal Tort Claims Act should be directed to the MRPBS Financial Management Division - Billings and Collections Team (BCT) - Claims.

Restrictions on Private Residences An employee's private residence may not be used as a physical site for meetings and appointments with employees of other Federal, State, and local agencies, private corporations, and the general public. All face-to-face meetings, appointments, etc, must be held at the employee's official duty station office.
Security

Participants who perform work at their private residence must ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent damage or unauthorized access to Government data and equipment. Classified or sensitive databases should not be accessible from the participant's residence, unless security officials have certified that the records will be adequately protected. Teleworkers are responsible for the security of all official data, and the protection of government-issued equipment/property while carrying out the mission of MRP. Government-issued equipment must only be used for official duties and only by the teleworker. For example: When traveling back and forth from the ODS to the alternative worksite in a POV, make sure your laptop is secure and out of sight. Make sure the home office or work area is a safe and secure work environment, and log off the government computer when not in use.

For participants who work at a satellite office, the office will provide a system to prevent loitering, unauthorized entry to the space, and other disruptive acts.


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