Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can I be fired for calling into work because of the snow/blizzard?

A curious question that always pops up whenever severe weather sweeps through town is whether or not an employee can be fired for calling into work due to inclement weather or whether they are to be paid for missing work due to mother nature's wrath. As I write this post, the Milwaukee area is getting hit hard by snow, wind, and freezing temperatures. It would seem illogical for employers to require their employees to have to drive into work in this weather but there simply isn't a law against requiring employees to report to work in these conditions and "non-exempt" employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") do not have to be paid since they did not work.

However, and as Attorney Eric B. Meyer over at his blog points out, it may not be a bad idea for employers to simply be compassionate (to avoid lawsuits) and I'd imagine it's easier just to deal with less personnel or close for a day than it would be to post, interview and hire new workers.
UPDATE: An Indiana attorney sees it differently and I also tend to agree that a case *may* be made if the facts are right.

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