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Can an employer make you go to work if you don't feel safe driving?
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Can an employer make you go to work if you don't feel safe driving?

So we are supposed to get up to 18" of snow tomorrow (We NEVER get snow here) and I have a little mazda3 with summer performance tires and I'm scared to death to take it out on the roads and my boss said if I don't show up for work tomorrow I'm fired. Can an employer force an employee to work if he/she is unable to get there for safety reasons?
Additional Details
If I were to get into an accident and hurt someone badly would it be the companies fault for making me go out after I made it clear I didn't feel it was safe?

Oh yeah I live in Virginia


2010-01-30 08:13:25 +0000
Your employer can not force you to drive to work if you feel it is unsafe, but can fire you for not showing up to work. What it comes down to is this...How you get to work is your responsibility and not your employers problem. Sorry to say, but that's just the way it is. If you want to keep your job, take the bus, call a cab, or have someone drive you. Few employers would say you're gonna get fired and not mean it.

2010-01-30 08:02:52 +0000
There are ways around it that are safe, so regardless he is in the clear, arguably you could walk, rent a more snow-friendly vehicle, stay the night in your car or a place near by your work, etc. Sorry.

In other cases, unless it's very extreme, out of the workplace hazards cannot restrict your employers ability to "force" you to come into work as far as I know.

Good luck tomorrow!

2010-01-30 08:03:34 +0000
They sure can, and they're not liable for you getting into a car accident on your way there or on your way back. You agreed to work your schedule when you took the job. If you can't make it in, they can fire you and you will have no recourse and no ability to get unemployment. Just take it slow.

I'm in the Ozarks and it's been snowing here for two days. I have a little Nissan Sentra and made it to my job perfectly fine by taking it slow.

2010-01-30 08:02:18 +0000
In most States, the employer can fire the employee for any reason or no reason at all and not even have to tell the employee the reason why...........you may have to get a ride, a taxi, or public transportation

2010-01-30 08:16:00 +0000
They can't force you to work, but the typical penalty for not coming in is... you guessed it, firing.

When I worked as a cart monkey, my father was not able at all to get his truck- a TRUCK- out of his parking spot during the worst of the snows.

I told my bosses, and they said, "Come in, or you're fired."

I said, "You'll need to come get me. There is no bus to this area, and there are no sidewalks because what IS plowed is all over the walks. You'll have to give me a ride home, too."

They gave me a ride TO work... but not one home. And the taxis weren't working because of the weather, as well. I lived a half-hours walk away in GOOD weather... it took me an hour and a half to walk home because I had to take side streets which were up to my hips in snow.

EDIT: Unless you somehow had the conversation in which they threatened to fire you if you didn't show up recorded, you wouldn't be able to prove that they "made" you drive, so it would not be the company's fault according to law.

However, most people understand that in a multi-car accident in bad weather, it is not always "one person's fault." Driving in bad weather is hazardous even for the best drivers.

2010-01-30 08:03:34 +0000
an employer can't FORCE an employee to do anything.

2010-01-30 09:18:49 +0000
If the snow hasn't arrived by the time you are supposed to go to work - then GO!!! The snow may never come down until later. If it's too bad for you to drive home, then your BOSS is going to have put you up!! On the other hand, IF the snow HAS fallen by the time you are ready to go to work, your driveway is covered and the streets aren't plowed, just call the idiot up and tell him you are hard at work digging yourself out, and will report to work - whenever!!!!!!! LOL! Could be in a couple of days if you get that much snow!! No. he can't fire you for not being able to get to work.. You shouldn't have called him though about you not feeling safe driving in snow!

2010-01-30 08:08:56 +0000
An employer should be able to fire you for any reason at any time. If they feel they don't need you to make money, or if they feel they can do better with someone else. They should be able to do so. Why would anyone want it any other way. Who wants to be where you are not wanted. This is America. There are plenty of opportunities to make money.

2010-01-30 08:02:29 +0000
if there is no union then yes they can do whatever they want! and do most of time anyway even if there is a union! :oP

2010-01-30 08:05:01 +0000
No, but I think you can be fired.

2010-01-30 08:06:26 +0000
It has been snowy and icy here real bad and no one wants to come into work here either. Believe me if you gets into an accident in a gov or work vehicle they are going to blame you and prob do something about it. Its so messed up especially when you know if you go out on these days that is a possibility so if the company doesnt care not only do they not care that you wreck(which they will care when it comes to costs afterwards) but they also dont care about your life either! Its messed up. I would do something about it.Stand up for your rights. Or simply quit and make a stand. Do you really want to work for someone who doesnt even care if you live or die?

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