Driving in the snow is difficult. You might find it difficult to make it to work on time, if at all. If you've just moved to a snowy area, you need to know that companies don't have to allow their workers to call in during inclement weather. But if your job description includes driving, things are a little different. This guide explains what you can legally expect of the company you work for when driving their vehicle during a snowstorm.
Your Employer Can Make You Come Into Work
Your employer can require you to come to work during a snowstorm, but they won't can't hold you accountable if you don't. The worst that will happen is that you'll be forced to use a vacation day, sick day or a personal day.
If the storm is so bad that authorities are requesting that people stay off the road unless it's an emergency, you have a better chance of convincing your boss to let you off the hook for a day.
Employers put themselves on the line when they require people to drive during a snowstorm. If something happens, they may liable in a court of law, especially if the authorities have advised against traveling on the roads.
Employers Should Maintain the Safety of the Vehicles
The vehicle you drive for your employers to make deliveries or to perform other duties should be outfitted with all the safety items required for a snowstorm. Items such as snow tires and chains are a minimum of what you should expect the employer to outfit their fleet with.
If the vehicle you drive needs new tires, and your employer refuses to install them, contact an attorney to see if a legal remedy is necessary.
You Have the Right to Legal Fees
Should an issue arise and your employer does not put your safety first by maintaining a winter-safe vehicle or forcing you to come to work during a blizzard, your attorney may be able to recoup any legal fees that you incur. If you do wind up in the middle of a workplace lawsuit, make sure that you have everything documented.
Jot down the fact that the authorities declared a state of emergency and requested that people stay off the roads. Take photos of the unsafe conditions of the vehicle.
The bottom line is that even though your employer has the right to make you go to work, it is not in their best interest to force you to drive one of their vehicles if it is unsafe to do so. Get with your local legal services professional (Attorney Steven N. Long, P.C. or another practitioner) to learn more about your rights as a driver for a local company, whether you are a pizza delivery person or a truck driver.Share