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Lawmaker Wants Job Protections For Workers Under Evacuation Orders

Jonathan Kos-Read via flickr

One Florida lawmaker believes workers who evacuate because of an emergency don’t deserve to lose their jobs. A new bill would give the state’s employees more protections.

Hurricane Irma displaced thousands of Floridians, and put 6.5 million residents under evacuation orders. Downed trees, power outages and traffic jams prevented many from returning to work as soon as employers hoped.

But Democratic Representative Tracie Davis of Jacksonville believes workers shouldn’t be punished or fired because of an emergency. Her bill would give employees two weeks to return to work after an evacuation order is lifted, with no consequences. Under the bill, workers who were punished because of their absence during an evacuation order would be able to bring a civil suit against their employers.

The measure would not apply to first responders or healthcare workers, including those in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or hospice units.

As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.