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When Disaster Strikes


The recent Idyllwild wildfire near Palm Springs, the flash floods in Las Vegas and tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombings are just a few examples of natural and other disasters that can dramatically impact a community and raise a surprising variety of employment law implications for affected businesses and employees. 

Each of these disasters forced businesses to close and, in some cases, resulted in widespread interruptions of city and transportation services or even evacuations. The aftermath also prevented some employees who wanted to work from getting to their places of business in a way that is similar to disruptions caused by major storms. Given that these events are unpredictable and beyond a business owner’s control, it is critical to understand the not-so-intuitive employer obligations in such circumstances. Here are a few of the employment law issues that may arise during or after a disaster. 

Natural and other disasters will, unfortunately, recur. Employers who develop disaster plans should give due consideration to the employment-related issues that are likely to arise and ensure that managers understand what is expected of them and required of employees.

This article appeared in the August 2, 2013 issue of the Vancouver – SW Washington Business Journal.

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