Q: Is a work safety policy that prohibits workers from leaving the building to go home or to the restroom legal?
When lightning is reported within a certain number of miles, employees are prohibited from leaving the building until no strikes have been recorded for 30 minutes. They are told they cannot go home if this happens at the end of shift and are also prohibited from using restroom facilities which are located outdoors.
So many issues.
"Is it legal?" is a loaded question. There is nothing specifically illegal about having a policy in place. Employers can make a policy about nearly anything and employees may choose to follow the policy, seek other employment, or ignore the policy and risk discipline. If your employer required you to wear clown makeup to work everyday, it would be "legal." Silly, but legal.
So if your employer requires you to remain until released, they must pay you for your time. If that results in overtime, they must pay you at an overtime rate.
If your employer physically prevents you from leaving the premises, that would be unlawful and you would have a claim for damages not to mention individual employees enforcing the unlawful policy could be subject to criminal penalties if you could convince law enforcement to charge them.
If you choose not to follow the policy and either leave or go to the toilet and you are terminated, you should consult an employment law attorney to determine if you have a case for wrongful termination. I would suspect that you would, but employment law is not my area of expertise, you are not currently in that position, and, if you find yourself in that position, you really should sit down one on one with an employment attorney.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.