Hurricane Season Brings HR Issues

Working on the Gulf Coast means the annual preparation for the possibility of a hurricane hitting your home or business. For employers, this means preparing a contingency plan for a disaster, and taking proactive measures to address not only the business interruption issues, but also the human resources concerns associated with a storm. Some of the commonly asked questions include:

1) Can an employer require an employee to work during a mandatory evacuation? What if the employee does not come back and turns the evacuation into a vacation?

2) Is an employer required to pay employees who miss work because of weather events like a hurricane? Does it matter if they are exempt or non-exempt ?

3) Can an employer require employees to use accrued vacation time if the business is closed for a hurricane?

All of these questions, and more, are answered in Cozen O’Connor’s “HR Guide for Hurricane and Disaster Preparation”, which is linked here. It is important to note that this guide is primarily aimed at Texas employers. If your business operates in multiple states along the Gulf Coast, you should seek legal advice regarding the specific laws in each state which may apply.

David Barron

David L. Barron is a member in the Cozen O'Connor - Houston office, focusing his litigation practice on labor and employment law. David joined the firm in 2011. David assists his clients with all their labor and employment needs including representing clients at trials involving wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, collective action overtime claims and whistle-blower suits, before a variety of state and federal courts. He counsels clients on labor negotiations, elections, strikes, and corporate campaigns by unions; litigates disputes before the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Department of Labor; and advises management on various employment issues, including wage and hour, federal contractor compliance, employee terminations, discrimination and harassment claims, drafting and enforcement of noncompete agreements, Sarbanes Oxley, and OSHA matters. David has been quoted on employment law topics by the Houston Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Texas Lawyer,, and numerous other newspapers and magazines. He also has appeared as an employment law professional on talk radio and the local CBS and Fox affiliates in Houston. David is board certified in Labor and Employment law and has been named a Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star in Texas Monthly magazine. David attended the University of Houston, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1994. He then earned his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1996.

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