What to due if forced to work during dangerous weather conditions?

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What to due if forced to work during dangerous weather conditions?

I deliver pizzas and was forced to stay on the road driving. Is this grounds for a lawsuit? Recently, a tornado alert and warning were issued for my area. Myself and 2 other employees were hesitant to drive but we were under the impression that we were to stay our route or it would cost us our jobs. While driving, I clearly heard multiple alerts and warnings to take immediate shelter. I received no phone call to return. My car even flooded out and had to be towed home later (it cost me $75 but I was later compensated). Is this enough to file a lawsuit? I have paperwork detailing the times of my deliveries and tornado warning times.

Asked on April 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You may have felt like you were "forced" to work, but legally, you were not. You had the choice to not work if you felt it unsafe; you could have elected to call in sick, call off, or just refuse to deliver and accept the chance of benig terminated. Insted, you chose voluntarily to prioritize your job ahead of the risk; having made this choice voluntarily, your employer is not liable for any losses or damages you may have suffered, since those loses or damages would have resulted from your intervening free choice.

(In a legal sense, to be "forced" to do something means to be compelled by some pressure or threat which is itself illegal, such as threat of improper prosecution, of violence, of disclosure of private or confidential information, etc.)

Also note that even if you had grounds to sue, you cannot recover for "might" have happened, but only for actual loses. If your only loss was $75 but you were compensated for it anyway, there would be nothing to sue for.


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