Why is my employer stating that I don’t qualify for double disaster pay because I work remotely?

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Why is my employer stating that I don’t qualify for double disaster pay because I work remotely?

My company has a disaster pay policy that does not specify remote workers or on site workers. It speaks on employees as a whole that if we are able to work and decide to during a disaster we receive double disaster pay. I worked remotely and only received my regular pay. The other employees that did not work got paid as well their regular pay. I am being told because I work remotely I don’t qualify for double pay. The policy does not specify this at all. It’s does not separate on site or remote workers. They took 3 weeks to get back to me and said the other workers shouldn’t have gotten paid and they would investigate but nothing has been done or updated to me for a month. Is this legal? I feel I’ve been wronged. Amongst other things. I could go on. Is it my fault they never updated the policy? That’s what it seems like to me.

Asked on January 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were not in the disaster area (such as because you worked remotely), you most likely are NOT entitled to disaster pay: courts (i.e. if you sued for the money) interpret policies (and contacts, etc.) in a reasonable, logical way, and the logical or reasonable meaning of a disaster policy is to compensate employees *affected by* the disaster for working. If you disagree and feel you are entitled to the money and your employer does not voluntarily pay you, you could try suing your employer for the money, based on breach of contract--breach of the written policy terms pursuant to which you worked--(suing would be the only way to get the money if your employer will not otherwise pay it) but bear in mind that, if you were not in the disaster area or zone, there is a reasonable probability you would not win.


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