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Employment Question for State of Emergency

Marietta, GA |

Atlanta lawyers will get this. I don't have a problem this time, but have read so much today that since the governor declared a state of emergency, employers can't ask employees to come in, and that somehow a police state-like law kicks in to govern private businesses and individuals. If someone posts on FB that they have to go to work, 15 people will jump in to tell them they don't and they can sue if the employer does anything at all. Does the state of emergency somehow kick in to affect employers and employees and change the at will employment?

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Attorney answers 3



Employers can request anything they want, the question is whether or not they can discipline or fire you if you refuse the request. If you are an "at will" employee, an employer can fire you without needing a reason. If you have civil service status or are privately employed under a contract or company policy that requires good cause for discipline or termination, it is unlikely that being unable to come to work because of the conditions that give rise to a state of emergency will be found to be good cause.

For more specific advice contact a local lawyer that specializes in employment law.


A state of emergency is meaningless in Georgia as to private employers. In other words, if an employer thinks so little of his employees that he wants to risk killing them, he can. Good employers, like myself, used common sense, closed early Tuesday and stayed closed Wed. and today. But if your employer wants to be an idiot, your only remedy in Georgia is going to be to work for someone else, and use that Facebook page to get people to boycott that business after you get a new job. (In Georgia a state of emergency simply means the Governor has mobilized emergency services at state agencies, can call out the National Guard, and he can close state government offices and probably direct his staff to close state highways. Beyond that it has no real meaning).

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

Alan Sanders Richard

Alan Sanders Richard


Glen, Good answer, I agree. For an example of this mobilization and coordination of emergency services that occurs during an emergency, take a look at the link provided by Attorney Brinkmeier in his response. The link takes you to Georgia's plan for how to keep 911 services going during an emergency.

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