What You Should Say to Employees When a Freak Storm Messes With Business

by Evil HR Lady on February 16, 2021

Texas, and other southern states, are experiencing a rare event: below-freezing weather and snow. It’s so cold in Texas that wind turbines froze, causing rolling blackouts for 3.8 million people. Yet, a small retail store owner sent out the following message to his employees:

Just to be clear with everyone. Cold weather is not an excusable reason to not come to work. If you don’t show for your shift and you didn’t find coverage…it’s considered job abandonment. I do not have sympathy for a little snow and cold. Half the nation lives in this weather for 4 months every year. [Ellipses in the original.]

This is precisely how you find yourself with no employees and a failing business. And, while he’s right that many, many people deal with cold and snow and ice every winter, it’s not the same as it is in Texas.

To keep reading, click here: What You Should Say to Employees When a Freak Storm Messes With Business

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

BethRA February 16, 2021 at 8:09 pm

Good grief.

Even in New England, where we are used to large snow storms, it’s not uncommon for public safety officials to ask “nonessential” workers to stay home and stay off the roads. It just makes life harder for emergency personnel to have everyone driving around.

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Zelda February 16, 2021 at 11:49 pm

So much this! I live in Chicago. Yes, we deal with weather like what they have 4+ months per year. But that’s the key – we deal with it that much so we have snow plows and salt (and the stuff you use when it’s too cold for salt, which is a thing!) and snow shovels and snow blowers, etc. I’ve driven in snow and ice for all of my life and, sorry, that’s not a skill you just have and living in a warm climate, you probably have had no need to learn it. Lots of people deal with lots of things – that doesn’t mean that everyone else is equipped to do so! This guy deserves to lose his business, but the workers don’t deserve to lose their pay or jobs just because he’s an unreasonable…[person]!

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Kelley February 16, 2021 at 8:49 pm

Seriously, what a jerk. Glad I don’t work for this guy! To paraphrase his/her message: “I don’t care if you have to risk your life for this minimum wage job”!

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Just My 2 Cents February 16, 2021 at 9:09 pm

So, “cold weather” actually isn’t a good excuse for not coming to work. Dangerous icy roads along with snow in a city that is not equipped to handle it totally is. And who fires someone for not showing up for one day! He better get ready for some unemployment claims if he doesn’t regain his senses soon.

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BethRA February 17, 2021 at 3:53 pm

“Cold weather”? No, not generally a reason not to come to work. “Extreme cold that’s causing rolling blackouts”? In a region where people probably don’t have the clothing/gear to keep warm? I’d argue that is reason to let people stay home even without the icy roads, etc. But yeah, this guy is a jerk.

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MariaRose February 16, 2021 at 11:19 pm

Sitting here reading this article, while watching the weather report about an upcoming snowstorm predicted to drop 6-12 inches, I have no sympathy for a boss who did not prepare the business for a weather emergency. Unless that job is essential (healthcare, fire, police, sanitation, transportation, grocery) no white collar job workers need to battle road conditions that are impossible to travel in. Neither should the boss wait until the middle of the storm to decide to close the business. Obviously, this boss doesn’t plan ahead. For safety’s sake alone, people need to stay home in bad weather. Understandably, Texas is not known for extremely cold condition weather but it does have hurricane weather so people should know how to prepare for bad weather of any kind.

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Goober February 16, 2021 at 11:55 pm

Knowing how to prepare for a hurricane will not help you drive on icy roads in the least. Thinking it will could get you dead.

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Goober February 16, 2021 at 11:59 pm

My point of comparison was moving from Nebraska to Missouri when I was 12. In Nebraska, a foot or more of snow on the ground was normal all winter, and I’d walk through knee deep snow to get to school. Unless it was coming down so hard you couldn’t see the road, people didn’t give it much thought.

My first winter in Missouri, they cancelled school after a very light (to me) snow, and I thought that was hilarious. Until some point a few days later on when I was in the school bus on wet pavement with a driver who had little or no experience with even light snow. Then I understood.

The one time I saw black ice, while in high school, I was, I believe, the *only* car in the four mile drive to school that didn’t end up in the ditch. It wasn’t pretty.

I kinda wish I was local to this guy just so I could tell him why I’d never do business with him again.

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Tamer of dragonflies February 17, 2021 at 10:56 am

This guy is a crackpot who is about to be running his store alone. I work for the water department in one of the states getting ice and snow. We aren’t going out unless customers have no water or sewerage is dumping out. Southern states are NOT equipt for this. What makes it worse down here…We have more ice than snow. It (usually) gets warm enough to begin to melt the snow and ice.Overnight, temps dip down and refreeze all that had melted, creating a solid sheath of ice on everything. I’ve seen individual blades of grass encased in ice.My yard was a carpet of 4 inch spikes.

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Debbie February 17, 2021 at 3:22 pm

I am being asked to subscribe to inc.com to continue reading the article. 🙁

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grannybunny February 18, 2021 at 3:31 pm

I live in Dallas, Texas, and it was just announced that the so-called “rolling blackouts” are ending, even though hundreds of thousands still lack electricity, due to “equipment damage.” In addition, due to power being cut to water treatment facilities, thousands are being instructed to boil their drinking water — even though they may lack the electrical power to do so — while, due to all the broken pipes, water pressure is down and people are being asked to conserve water and limit it to “essential” uses. The first day of the storm, there was a mass pile-up in the Express Lane of a freeway in our neighboring City of Fort Worth, in which 135 vehicles were involved and 6 people died. It’s highly unlikely that this short-sighted small business owner was even able to stay open, because the power outages, broken pipes, etc., caused major chains like 7-11, Walgreens, Kroger, QT, etc., to have to close, as well as the vast majority of restaurants, government services, offices, etc. It’s difficult to find a place to get gasoline, bread, milk, bottled water, firewood, etc. His attitude may be why his business is “small,” and — further — why it is likely to fail. By the way, the freezing of the wind turbines didn’t cause the rolling blackouts; wind provides only 10% of our power. It was, primarily, the failure of the natural gas-fueled power plants to invest in winterizing that caused the wholesale inability to meet the demand for power for heating that caused the blackouts. Originally, they were supposed to last 15-45 minutes. Instead, they turned out to last hours, and even days. This will turn out to be Texas’ largest natural — and man-made — disaster.

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pbnj February 18, 2021 at 4:34 pm

Fellow Texan here – I do wish EvilHRLady would correct her wording since it sounds like the reason we are having blackouts is due to the wind turbines, while we are also having issues with nuclear and natural gas power plants. Everything failed, not just the wind turbines that weren’t winterized. I’m also frustrated that some organizations keep calling these rolling blackouts, since it sounds like they are short in duration instead of several hours to several days.
It does seem like most businesses have given up on operating this week since they can’t without clean water and reliable power. I just heard my spouse on a conference call and his coworkers were ooohing and ahhing that we have both power and water right now. That’s how ridiculous and dire this situation is.

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