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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:51 AM

Employee ‘rights’ during snow, severe weather

http://fox4kc.com/2013/02/25/employee-rights-during-snow-severe-weather/

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the metro braced for round two of winter weather Monday, there’s a controversy brewing over whether or not many should head into work.
Some say they’ve been threatened with their jobs if they don’t show up.
So, what rights do you have as an employee? And, how can one snow day affect the personal economies of the workers in the metro?"

22 replies, 2003 views

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Employee ‘rights’ during snow, severe weather (Original post)
pstokely Feb 2013 OP
TheMastersNemesis Feb 2013 #1
aristocles Feb 2013 #2
treestar Feb 2013 #3
pstokely Feb 2013 #5
treestar Feb 2013 #7
Butterbean Feb 2013 #4
treestar Feb 2013 #8
Butterbean Feb 2013 #10
Puzzledtraveller Feb 2013 #6
TheMastersNemesis Feb 2013 #9
lonestarnot Feb 2013 #14
HereSince1628 Feb 2013 #11
Brickbat Feb 2013 #12
datasuspect Feb 2013 #13
davsand Feb 2013 #15
pstokely Feb 2013 #18
davsand Feb 2013 #22
Myrina Feb 2013 #16
pstokely Feb 2013 #17
Cairycat Feb 2013 #21
Agschmid Feb 2013 #19
Jersey Devil Feb 2013 #20

Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:06 AM

1. In Most Of Country It Is "Work At Will" - Employees At Mercy Of Employers.

Anyone who thinks they have any rights as an employee anymore in the Reagan economy are living in fantasy land. Reagan said he would change the economy and he did with the help of his allies who really ran the show. He was brain dead from day one when he was elected.

And the GOP is not done yet.

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Response to TheMastersNemesis (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:14 AM

2. Yes, Missouri is an "At Will" state

 

However, in Missouri there are statutory exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine.

http://www.employmentlawfirms.com/resources/employment/wrongful-termination/at-will-employment-missouri.htm


If the employee has been discharged based upon the individual’s race, color, age, religion, disability, gender, national origin, or pregnancy, then the employee may have protected legal rights under the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also protects an employee’s right to return to work after taking leave for certain reasons.

The Missouri courts have recognized several other exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine. An employee may have a claim for wrongful discharge if the employee was fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, reporting wrongdoings or violations of law, refusing to commit a crime or to act contrary to public policy, or performing a civic duty such as serving on a jury or participating as a witness in an investigation. In each of these examples, the employee must prove that he or she was terminated for one of these reasons.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:15 AM

3. Thank goodness the state governments

declare the roads closed in bad storms.

What kind of idiot employer wants employees going through heavy snow or on icy roads?

The customers don't come in, either.

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Response to treestar (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:19 AM

5. Hospitals can't close

a lot of hospital employees just spend the night there

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Response to pstokely (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:21 AM

7. Essential employees

are different and presumably some accommodations are made for them, as you've illustrated.

The article is very broad brushed, so I was thinking of ordinary employers just being jackasses.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:18 AM

4. I'm a nurse, and the official policy at my hospital states

that I am expected to do everything possible to show up for my shift, including spending the night at the hospital. The hospital does put us up in a hotel for really bad storms, but you can opt to just stay at the hospital in an empty patient room if you wish, too. The hospital is no longer providing transportation after this year (they have a team of volunteer snow drivers), as it is deemed too high of a liability/risk thing.

I watch the weather closely in the winter, and if it's looking like it's going to be hard/scary/dangerous for me to drive to work (I have a long commute), then I just go spend the night at the hospital.

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Response to Butterbean (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:22 AM

8. They conclude it is high risk but still expect you to drive.

Very interesting. I wonder if the cops would do it, or some city service with snow-equipped vehicles.

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Response to treestar (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:25 AM

10. Yes. You should have seen all the eyebrows that went up in the room when that was

announced. The irony was not lost on us (nurses), believe me. It's.....tricky.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:19 AM

6. I'm a public employee

We have an adverse weather policy, if weather conditions preclude you from coming in to work you are still paid for the time, you have 4 months to make it up or it will come out of your annual leave. You can also elect to use your annual leave or comp time for the purpose of inclement weather as it occurs. Some supervisors try to claim they can approve of not approve it's use but I dispusted this once in a gievance and won. I ha a supervisor who claimed, that since she had no problem coming in than she could see no reason why I would. Nevermind I live 50 miles out in the country.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:23 AM

9. It Does Not Matter What The State Declares The Employer Can Do What They Want Anyway

The GOP and its allies have eroded the law and enforcement so much it is almost non existent now. Even with Affirmative Action laws enforcement has been virtually castrated these days. The GOP has severely weekend even the most robust agencies. And discrimination are under attack now because the GOP is intent on abolishing them at the federal level or remanding them to the states.

I worked at DOL for 24 years and retired in 1998. Things were getting dicey back then and they are now as bad as I have ever seen it. Government enforcement is an illusion now because from what I see most abuses are now being ignored. The courts are now taking years and the GOP has succeeded in installing extreme right judges in key spots or not appointing anyone. In case no one has noticed they have bottled up the courts.

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Response to TheMastersNemesis (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:29 AM

14. Oh we have noticed alright.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:25 AM

11. When I was teaching at northern universities, students were encouraged to use discretion

and not have it count against them...

Faculty and staff were expected to report as usual, although on most campuses, 'usual' for faculty left a lot of wiggle room for the weather.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:28 AM

12. Some construction unions bargain bad-weather attendance policies.

Unions don't bargain only paychecks and benefits. A lot of it is worker safety and working conditions.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:28 AM

13. what employee rights?

 

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:38 AM

15. I had this discussion a few years ago with local and county government.

For years the County offices never shut down in bad weather. You'd see the sheriff on TV telling people "Do NOT go out in this!" and you'd hear that certain roads were declared "closed" but County employees were expected to be at work. I was watching secretaries and receptionists worry about how to get home at night or how to get TO work the next day. It was a farce. I can see how there are certain folks who do have to be there--like the snow plow drivers, the Emergency Services people, and the guards at the jails--but does the County Board Chairman's Secretary really need to be there when even the County Board Chair won't venture in?

I asked point blank how it could ever be a good policy to force employees to get out in blizzard conditions when (in theory) it was also County Government and EMS that was gonna end up being responsible to RESCUE those employees if they didn't make it home or into work. A month later the County offices closed for the first time when we got 18 inches of snow with high winds. Yes, the necessary personnel still have to be there in the Jail and at the EMS and Emergency Dispatch, but at least the Secretary for the County Administrator can stay safely at home.

Oddly enough, even the unions hadn't brought this up because nobody had ever questioned it. I had also planted the suggestion that the announcement should be made that we value our workers and want to keep them safe. They took my advice and everybody was all warm and fuzzy about it. Worked out fine. The unions were happy, the politicians all looked good, and the employees were safer.

Fortunately, the example has spread to other local government offices--even in neighboring Counties. Some local employers do shut down during supremely bad weather, but for sure, not enough of them do. We still end up with people needing to be "rescued" from the roadside just about every major snowstorm.


Laura

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Response to davsand (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:46 AM

18. They're still having a primary today in WYCO Kansas

nt

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Response to pstokely (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:01 AM

22. Yes, unfortunately, elections can't really be postponed.

Awful as it is, a lot of times those are governed by statute. It forces election staff and voter to go out in bad weather--unsafe conditions--and that is bad. The net result ends up being a very low turnout and too many people exposed to danger. I've argued for a while now that if government was truly interested in voter participation we'd move to things like longer periods to vote and options to vote via mail or online.

Nobody really wants to have that discussion, however, because they claim voter fraud could be an issue or that it is a logistical nightmare. I have always kind of thought that it was more a matter of the politicians want to assure that they have most of the election results by a specific time. I admit I am kinda jaded, however, because I live in Illinois where politics is a blood sport and about as corrupt as it gets.



Laura

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:39 AM

16. If the Gov declares 'Emergency Travel Only', ask your HR dept

if they expect you to break the law to come to work.

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Response to Myrina (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:45 AM

17. It's not illegal to be traveling during a state of emergency around here

Last edited Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:44 PM - Edit history (1)

dumb, but not illegal

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Response to Myrina (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:53 AM

21. Here's it's not illegal but it costs more

if you get stuck in the ditch and the tow truck working for the county pulls you out. My husband found this out the hard way this winter.

What's most irksome is that my husband's job could easily be done by telecommuting. As could lots of others, I'm sure. I think there should be incentives for business to convert jobs to telecommuting.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:48 AM

19. As a manager during inclement weather...

I usually will call off the employees who live further out, since our business is slower during weather anyway. I offer them the option of coming in or not (if they do choose not to come in, many are PT they don't get paid). If my location actually were to close due to weather all staff on at the time would be paid for their shifts (at a 4 hour minimum payment) under our weather policy.

I also on a personal level always ask that people alert me when they get home so that I know they made it safely. In my field we don't often close, but we certainly will run bare bones when the weather is bad.

I feel my company does a good job with this policy.

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Response to pstokely (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:53 AM

20. I once had an employer call me to find out why I didn't come to work during a blizzard

It was in the late 70s in NJ and we had something like 24 inches of snow. He said he skiied to work on cross country skis and if he could get to work he expected his employees to get to work. Of course, it was impossible to get there with cars abandoned all over the roads, streets yet unplowed. I asked him if he had been drinking, got out my resume' and shortly thereafter found another job.

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