Hurricanes, Blizzards and Other Extreme Weather Events

Author: Gloria Ju

Every workplace has the potential to be affected by extreme weather events or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes or flooding. An employer should always be prepared for unexpected occurrences. Having a response plan in place for dealing with extreme inclement weather will help protect both the employer and its employees.

There are many concerns an employer should prepare for when it comes to extreme weather. For example, if bad weather hits while employees are in the workplace, what is the evacuation plan or shelter-in-place procedure? If the workplace will be shut down, how will this be communicated to employees? What are the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements for paying employees when they do not come to work because of the weather? Are there any Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) concerns of which the employer needs to be aware? What should be done if an employee dies on- or off-site? If the workplace must close permanently, does the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act apply? These are just a few of the issues an employer should be prepared for before bad weather hits.

The following resources can help an employer handle various workplace issues that may arise due to an extreme weather event.

Policies and Documents

Employee Handbook Statements

Supervisor Briefings

How To

Quick Reference


Employment Law Manual

Workplace Safety and Security

Employee Classification

Employee Leaves

Employee Assistance Programs

Employee Communications and Discipline