Forced to work, and wreck, who's liable? - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Forced to work, and wreck, who's liable?

By Annette Falconer –bio|email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – With the cold and dangerous roads, many East Texans got to stay home, but some of you were called into work despite the weather danger

If you were forced to drive in bad conditions to work and were to get into an accident, would your employer be liable?

East Texas Attorney Steve Spitzer decided to hit the super slippery streets on Friday morning, "My objective was to get here and see what the roads were line and advice the rest of the employees if they should come in or not."

It was clear to him, what to do.

"Hey Jen, good morning. No, let's not come in today, I think the roads are too bad," Spitzer instructed,

As an attorney, Spitzer knows how important it is to keep employees out of any risk of danger.

"If the employer is putting pressure on the employee to come in, and the employer really doesn't want to come in, but they only come in because the employer made them, then the employee could hold some liability," says Spitzer.

So, if you experienced a car accident, who would be liable?

Spitzer says, "The most important fact to know would be whether the employer put pressure on the employee to come in."

So you take the day off, could you be fired?

"If the facts show the employer otherwise had a really good record and firing was in close proximity to the refusal of coming into work, then I think the employer would have some exposure for that," Spitzer explained.

When asked if he would ever fire an employee for that, Spitzer replied, "Absolutely not! We would never fire an employee, especially in conditions like this, it's just not prudent."

That's comforting to hear, but remember, if no pressure is involved, then you are liable for your own safety on the road,

Texas is an "Employment at Will" state, which essentially means you could be fired for a good, bad, or no reason at all.

But, as attorney Spitzer says, there is no law that is crystal clear, and if pressure is involved, a case could be too.

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