• You have your bread. And milk.  Presumably eggs too.  (Anyone making French Toast this morning?)
  • But do you know the employment law rules that apply for winter storms and classic nor’easters like we have today?
  • I’ve written about it plenty before, but here are three issues you may not have thought about recently.
  1. Reporting Time

Well, it’s official.  Connecticut is under a Blizzard Warning as of Sunday afternoon.

This is, of course, nothing new for employers in the state. We’ve had more than our fair share of big “monster” storms. If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you’ll have read more than your share of blog posts

We interrupt our normally scheduled post on a recent Second Circuit case….

Monday is an anniversary that many of us in Connecticut will long remember — the anniversary of the big October snowstorm (or “Alfred” as Channel 3 called it).   Combine that storm with Irene earlier in 2011, and we’ve seen more than our

UPDATED:

The official hurricane forecast as of early Wednesday morning has Connecticut squarely in the path of Hurricane Irene. Now is the time to start following the news and begin initial preparations for a possible storm.

Although we’re still many days away, the weather forecasters are starting to sound the alarm of a possible major hurricane named Irene hitting South Carolina and perhaps coming up the East Coast.

Hurricane Irene, 9a, 8/22

It has been twenty years since the last hurricane touched Connecticut and many people have likely forgotten how much damage even an indirect hit from a storm like Bob (back in 1991) can cause.

Each year I’ve written about this topic (most recently back in August 2010)  and so far, each storm that seems a possibility to hit Connecticut turns right or fades away.  Will we be as lucky again this year? Perhaps.

But just in case, now’s the time to dust off your storm-related policies and make sure that you’re set for a hurricane or tropical storm.

What are some things to think about?  Particularly for those employers near the Long Island Sound, you may want to consider the following:
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With the river flooding that has been going on in Connecticut the last week and the forecasts for a tough spring, I had originally scheduled this post to discuss emergency preparedness for employers and how employers should deal with employees affected.

Flooding is nothing new in Connecticut before and with more flooding expected, it seemed

Some of the long-range computer weather models have been forecasting that the next few weeks will become quite active in the tropics. For those on the East Coast and Connecticut, that can only mean one thing: Let the hurricane watching, speculating, and hyperventilating begin.

It’s not necessarily a theoretical issue either. Today marks the 55th anniversary

UPDATED 6/25/10

This afternoon, Bridgeport Connecticut either had a pretty bad microburst, or a tornado.  The National Weather Service has yet to make that determination, though having been right in the middle of it, it sure SEEMED like a tornado, with "whiteout" conditions. 

(UPDATE: The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Main Street by our office.)

And some businesses, including my law firm’s Bridgeport office (where I was working this afternoon) were in the thick of things. (We’re fine, though some cars in our building’s parking lot weren’t as fortunate.)  And it appears no one was killed in the event overall, thankfully.

The storm was pretty dramatic and I’ve attached a few of my mobile phone photos taken at the time.  

Early reports suggest that although some buildings were damaged and trees knocked down, many businesses were spared the worst of it.  But it’s only a matter of time before another storm (or hurricane) hits Connecticut again.  (And with forecasters calling for perhaps TWENTY named storms to develop this year, the odds on at least one making its way to Connecticut keep improving.) 

In times of disaster, what’s an employer to do if it has been damaged by a storm?

It’s actually a topic that I’ve tackled before in some posts like this one.  Here are some of the issues:

  • Suppose, for example that a business closes for a few days because of storm damage. Does the employer have to pay the employees?  The legal answer may depend on whether the employee is an exempt or non-exempt worker.  But if the employer may decide to pay all employees regardless as a "good will gesture" as some employers have done after fires, hurricanes and the other types of disasters.  
  • What can employers do to prepare for the hurricane season or other storms in the future? Easy. Set up a storm policy. Many employers will have in place for winter storms, but make sure that it is applicable for all types of storms and sets forth what is and is not expected.  Also consider getting cell phone numbers for employees; in case of a storm, you may be able to send them a text message or call with information, particularly if there are power outages.
  • Also, do your employee know what to do if an emergency strikes your workplace while they are there? Where are they supposed to go? While employers may prepare for some fire drills, expanding those drills to include unforeseen disasters will help.

Most employers prepare for storms by worrying about insurance and the physical aspects of an office. But don’t forget dealing with personnel as well. Have rules in place and know the legal limits as well. 

If a disaster does strike, you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else. And have one less thing to worry about to get your business back up and running again quickly.  

Continue below to see some pictures from today’s storm taken from our offices.  


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Tropical Storm Danny (no relation) formed in the Atlantic Ocean late this morning.  It’s still days away from a potential impact on the East Coast but Connecticut IS within the forecasted track’s "cone"

Whether it strengthens to a hurricane and hits Connecticut, or meanders harmlessly into the Atlantic Ocean is for the weather forecasters

As Tropical Storm Fay continues to pound Florida this week, I was recently reminded that it’s been 23 years since Connecticut suffered a direct hit from a Hurricane — the infamous Hurricane Gloria

No worries then for Connecticut, right? Wrong. Connecticut has been hit by several tropical storms since then — just like Fay —