Can Employers Make Staff Come To Work In A Driving Ban?
What many are calling the storm of the century has had a major impact on large parts of the country. The horrible weather conditions have been making life miserable for many people around the region with below-freezing temperatures, sub-zero wind chills, hurricane-force winds, and several feet of lake-effect snow.
Those weather conditions have also made it nearly impossible to travel around the region. All of those factors have gone into why local, county, and state officials have issued a State of Emergency, closed the New York State Thruway, and put a driving ban in all of Western New York.
Public Safety staff like Police, Firefighters, and Paramedics have been working around the clock in an effort to keep people safe, along with other essential workers like utility crews and medical professionals.
With the driving ban and horrible conditions, many local businesses have been forced to close their doors as it's been dangerous to try and travel. However, that sometimes doesn't stop some people and companies from trying to force their workforce to come in for a shift, even when it's unsafe, and maybe even illegal to do so.
Can My Employer Force Me To Come To Work When There Is A Driving Ban
Unless you are deemed an essential employee or are traveling for some sort of emergency situation, it is illegal in New York State for a company to force an employee to come to work when there is a driving ban in place.
This applies to situations when the company is in a banned area, or if the employee lives in a banned area.
Both the National Labor Relations Act and the New York State Department of Labor have issued directives that state an employer cannot retaliate against an employee who acts in good faith when there are inclement travel conditions on the roads. In addition to it being extremely dangerous to travel during a travel ban, you also run the risk of being charged with a misdemeanor by local police and sheriffs.
Travel ban means no travel
Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Executive
You can contact the New York State Department of Labor for more information about your rights as an employee in New York.