Please Stop Punishing Employees for the Polar Vortex

by Evil HR Lady on February 1, 2019

The weather in the Midwest and parts of Canada has been absurdly low and dangerous. Even the post office (“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..” canceled delivery in some places because it was so cold. 

And while I’m all warm and snuggly in my home (yay for working from home!) and my town is at a balmy 40, I opened my email this morning to find this email:

My son was fired for not coming into work on a weather advisory where the weather was -20 the town was advised not to be outside. He catches the bus to work. He called his job and informed them he had no way to work. To make matters worst the expressway was closed [which is] the only route to his job had he had a vehicle.  After calling work his was told he would receive a call from his supervisor. They didn’t call until the next day and told him not to come to work anymore. 

Then I went over to twitter and found this tweet from Tim Sackett.

To keep reading, click here: Please Stop Punishing Employees for the Polar Vortex

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny February 1, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Even with a car, it’s not safe to attempt to go to work in the extreme cold some locations are experiencing. Even assuming that road conditions are safely-drivable at polar temperatures — a big assumption — fuel lines can freeze up, among other potential vehicle-disabling possibilities.

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Mr Wham-Bam February 1, 2019 at 4:48 pm

My daughter’s vehicle got struck in a hit-and-run on the way to work this snowy morning! I’m with EHRL; here’s to working from home! I’ven’t even fetched the morning paper, should such even be there…

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Evil HR Lady February 1, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Agree 100% grannybunny. These temperatures are scary cold. And if you break down? That’s super dangerous as well.

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Elizabeth West February 1, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Ask a Manager has had several posts about this. Except for emergency personnel, it’s really not going to kill you to let people stay home for a day.

I used to work in the office of a factory that had regular office hours but then would sometimes have three shifts when they got busy (it was usually two). During the 2007 ice storm, which started on a Friday and went on for three days and shut down the entire city, they only closed for one day (Monday). I was surprised they did that, even. I suppose they realized people who had spent the entire weekend seeking shelter–nobody had any power. They were pretty good about it, though; I was thirty miles away in a motel and missed Tuesday because I couldn’t get hold of anyone.

But then the new manager wouldn’t let us leave early one day when a sleet storm hit at rush hour, and a ten-minute drive home took me an hour and a half.>:(

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MariaRose February 2, 2019 at 1:10 am

The companies (who are not labeled emergency services) that insist that their workers report to work in these kinds of conditions and retaliate with discipline actions aren’t on the best employer list. These companies are catering to those customers who also ignore the warnings to not be out either because of the money they will spend. Some of these workers post these things on Reddit, showing the temperatures outside and the iced up windows of the store with signs showing Yeah we are open of course. I am quite sure franchise cellphone stores and video game stores were forced to be open to get those extra sales. The funny thing is that those individuals who force the workers to work are doing it remotely from their homes, while they also monitor the video cameras of the stores.

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Horse Tense February 5, 2019 at 3:49 am

The only issue that I have with this article is the fact you said “please”. When local governments declare a State of Emergency and ask all unessential non – emergency personnel to stay home, they need to stay home. Full stop. No “please” necessary.

Opportunities for people to freeze to death should be avoided at all costs, and companies should be liable when they unnecessarily threaten or take away peoples’ jobs during emergency situations like these.

The number of people who have perished from exposure this time around is tragic. I can’t abide some Squidlipper from his toasty home office mouthing off while people freeze to death.

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