This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can You Be Fired for Not Coming to Work Due to Severe Weather?

Question from Anon, Can You Be Fired for Not Coming to Work Due to Severe Weather?

Answer from AI:

When a severe snowstorm hits Saint Paul, Minnesota, it’s understandable to be concerned about the safety of commuting to work. The fear of being stuck, getting into a car crash, or facing worse scenarios is legitimate. However, the question of whether you can be fired for not coming to work due to bad road conditions, and if you’re eligible for unemployment benefits afterward, involves several legal and policy considerations.

Employment At-Will and Inclement Weather Policies

Minnesota is an at-will employment state. This means that, in general, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason that is not illegal (e.g., discrimination based on a protected class) or against public policy, as long as there is no contract stating otherwise. However, how this applies during severe weather conditions can vary based on the employer’s policies and the specific circumstances.

According to the workplace handbook excerpt you provided, it seems your employer has a policy in place for handling absences due to inclement weather. This policy states:

  • Time missed due to inclement weather will not be paid.
  • Leaving work early due to bad weather requires the supervisor’s permission, based on staffing needs.
  • Missed time is taken as unpaid leave unless you’re allowed to use vacation time.

This policy suggests that your employer acknowledges the possibility of missing work due to severe weather but also places certain conditions on how this time off is handled.

Can You Be Fired?

Based on the policy, if you fail to come to work due to severe weather without your supervisor’s permission, it could potentially lead to disciplinary action, including termination, especially if your absence negatively impacts staffing needs. Your boss expressing disappointment previously might indicate that they expect employees to make every effort to come to work, despite the weather conditions.

Applying for Unemployment Benefits

If you are terminated for not coming to work due to severe weather, you may wonder about your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Generally, unemployment benefits are available to those who are out of work through no fault of their own. However, eligibility can be complex and depends on the specifics of your case, including:

  • The reason for your termination.
  • Whether your employer can demonstrate misconduct or violation of company policy.
  • Your state’s unemployment insurance laws and regulations.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program is the relevant authority for unemployment benefits. They consider various factors, including the circumstances of your job separation, when determining eligibility.

What Should You Do?

If you’re concerned about being fired for missing work due to severe weather, consider the following steps:

  1. Communicate with your employer as early as possible about your situation and concerns.
  2. Document your communication and any attempts you made to come to work or find alternative solutions.
  3. Review your employer’s inclement weather policy and any relevant state laws to understand your rights and obligations.
  4. If you’re terminated, consult with a legal professional to discuss your specific situation and potential next steps, including applying for unemployment benefits.


While the fear of losing your job for not coming to work due to severe weather is valid, understanding your employer’s policies and the legal landscape is crucial. Communication with your employer and seeking legal advice when necessary can help navigate these challenging situations. Remember, each case is unique, so it’s important to consult with a legal professional for personalized advice.

Note: This information is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as legal advice. Employment laws and regulations can change, and the interpretation of these laws can vary based on individual circumstances.

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