IRMA: Employers have more leeway about decisions on job termination and wages during storm

Posted at 6:52 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 18:52:14-04

32 year old Tyeshia Perry is out of work

"The hurricane came and messed up everything," said Perry.
She said she got fired for not showing up for her shift Sunday.
"There is no way possible I could get to my job even if I wanted to," said Perry.
She lives in a mandatory evacuation zone and her schedule showed her being off.
"It is not fair," said Perry.
But, Tyeshia is a certified nursing assistant and charged with taking care of the most fragile population at a nursing home.

Her director said the employee handbook clearly spells out an all hands on deck policy when it comes to disasters.

Labor attorney Shaina Thorpe said workplace policies like that don't even have to be written, it can be verbal.

And it goes for anyone from those working at a fast food chain to people like Perry.

And while there is no law in place, there's an assumption of greater responsibility for certain jobs.

"I think the public has an expectation that fire services will remain in effect as provided and police services will be in effect and hospitals will remain open," said Thorpe.
Thorpe explained for those employers who let you leave, they can require you to use your vacation time if you are a salary employee.

If you are hourly, they can choose not to pay you.

Employees have little if any legal recourse
"It is on the employer's side, however there can be situations when the workforce is unionized and they have a grievance protocol in place." said Thorpe.  

Thorpe hopes employers work with you.

But if they don't accomodate you and you lost your job as a direct result of Irma, you could be eligible for aid through a newly established fund on this Florida jobs website.

Perry just wants to go back to work and if anything has learned a valuable lesson.
"We could have had a teachable moment," said Perry.