It’s Sunday evening here in Connecticut. If the forecast goes according to plan, I may not have power tomorrow to write about the storm.
Governor Malloy announced this evening that all non-essential state workers are not to report to work on Monday. But those who listened to his news conference know he went beyond that.
He stated that “This is the highest threat to human life our state has experienced in anyone’s lifetime.”
What does that mean, though, for private employers? Well, despite the ominous warnings, he has not ordered all private employers to close. Under Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 28-9, he may have broad powers if he declares a state of civil preparedness emergency to do so.
Indeed, under subsection (a), he is “authorized and empowered to modify or suspend in whole or in part, by order as hereinafter provided, any statute, regulation or requirement or part thereof whenever in his opinion it is in conflict with the efficient and expeditious execution of civil preparedness functions.”
But that’s not happening here. At least not yet. (If you’re curious on more about the state’s Disaster Plan, you can download it here.)
Thus, its up to each employer to decide what to do. Some, like our office in Bridgeport, will have no choice but to close because of the storm surge and flooding. Others will also need to close because of the expected power outages.
Whatever you decide, understand that opening or closing has its own set of consequences. Employees who are required to work tomorrow may feel like they are being put in harm’s way. While others may not get paid if the office is closed.
This storm is unprecedented (at least that’s what various articles like this one suggest.) Employers should be conscious about following guidance from officials and following the letter of the law. This disaster will pass, but employers who don’t follow the rules, are likely to have issues resurfacing down the road.
Stay safe everyone.