Can an employer terminate you for refusing to gather metal grocery baskets in an open parking lot during a thunderstorm?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can an employer terminate you for refusing to gather metal grocery baskets in an open parking lot during a thunderstorm?

I asked the store manager if I would ever be required to gather baskets during a thunderstorm (lightening) storm, and I was told I would never be required to do that. Then I asked him would I have to do it if there were no baskets for customers, and that’s when he told me I would have to gather baskets even if it was lightening out side. I was also told that I would have to load up groceries for customers if they wanted me to help them while it was lightening outside, and if I refused it would be grounds for termination.

Asked on May 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you unfortunately can be terminated for refusing to go out in a thunderstorm. While an employer cannot ask you to do something too risky--e.g. scrap asbestos without training or safety gear--realistically, the chance of being hit by lightning is something like the chance of winning a lottery; while the upper atmosphere pyrotechnics are impressive, the actual  risk is so miniscule as to be almost unmeasurable. Therefore, it is not reasonable for you to refuse to go out in a thunderstorm, especially when there is a clear business need (no baskets for customers). The employer would therefore be free to terminate you without any risk of an improper termination lawsuit or other potential liability.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption