can a boss force employees to stay when evacuated.

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can a boss force employees to stay when evacuated.

I live in an area prone to forest fires. Four times the restaurant where I work
was in evacuation zones for the fire and our district supervisor not only kept
the restaurant open but threatened employees with termination if we evacuated the
building. Can we have him arrested or prosecuted for this in some way?

Asked on July 13, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, you cannot get him arrested or prosecuted: there is no crime of asking people to not evacute, and since there is no crime, there are charges, etc. to be brought.
Also, if you do not have a still-in-effect (not terminated or expired) written employment contract guarantying or protecting your employment, you are an employee at will and have essentially no rights or protection at work; your employer cojld terminate you if he wants.
Sometimes you have to choose between your job and your health or safety. I sympathisize: I was working at the building next to the World Trade Center during the '93 bombing. We did not know if there were going to be more explosions, fire, etc. I left work before our central office approved closing the office and leaving, knowing I could have been fired, but that risk was worthwhile to me.


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