Can I be fired for not going to work due to a state of emergency being called?

We had a hurricane and I was unable to leave my family and get into work.

Asked on October 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Actually, the declaration of a state of emergency does not prevent an employer from expecting employees to show up for their shifts. Additionally, if the they cannot get to work due to travel restrictions such as a state of emergency being declared, they may be termiated. That is as long as doing so doesn't violate the terms of a union agreement or employment contract. Otherwise, as "at will" workers they may be discharged (or otherwise disciplined) at any time, for any reason, with or without notice. Bottom line, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination).

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