In Case of Emergency: The Role of Employers

In Case of Emergency: The Role of Employers

Employers, beware – Are you prepared for a natural disaster; your employees expect that you are!

When a natural disaster hits, businesses are expected to keep their employees safe in the moment of the disaster, and afterwards deal with the legal effects of the event. Employers are advised to have a disaster relief plan in place which deals with how the disaster will be handled in its immediate aftermath, and also how it will deal with the long-term effects of the disaster. We learned a lot from Katrina; a failure to deal with these issues and deal proactively with the risks led to many lawsuits. The scope of issues business will need to deal with is substantial. Think both short and long term on this issue and be flexible.

Pay issues – You will have to continue to pay your exempt employees. You can consider allowing them to work remotely or use on call time.

Leaves – You must apply leave policies in a non-discriminatory manner. Treat everyone the same. If you want to change the policy – do so fairly.

Relocation – Consider contractual limitations is you want to ask employees to relocate.

Disability – Expect a surplus of claims, and be prepared to handle in compliance with the law.

Staffing – Plan how you will deal with staffing problems in the event of a disaster.

Lisa Chapman
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