Disaster Preparedness: What’s Your Business Plan?

Natural disasters present diverse challenges for businesses. To help you minimize disruptions and get back to work after catastrophe strikes, five tips from lawyers and law firms on JD Supra on preparing for – and responding to – the worst:

-Being prepared starts long before disaster strikes:

“Creating a [Business Continuity Plan] so that you can get your business up and running as soon as possible after a disaster is vital to your company’s long-term survival. A BCP should include lists of emergency contact information, both internal and external, and a detailed recovery plan and should be developed with employees from all business units and levels of your company.” (From Earth(quake), Wind and Fire. Will You Be Ready If Disaster Strikes? by Sands Anderson PC)

-Making it up as you go along probably won’t work:

“An unexpected or catastrophic loss can force any company out of business, even if it’s insured. You must understand your company’s risks and how your insurance policies cover those risks in order to manage them and maintain stability.” (From Is Your Company Prepared For A Disaster? The Property and Business Interruption Insurance Checklist by Lowenstein Sandler PC)

-Emergencies don’t allow you to bend the rules:

“When faced with the overwhelming burden of getting your company back on its feet after a disaster, it might seem reasonable to obtain a waiver from overtime requirements. Reasonable, but impossible. There is no FLSA “emergency” exception that relieves the obligation to pay FLSA-required wages.” (From Hurricane Irene Leaves Wage/Hour Questions In Her Wake by Fisher & Phillips LLP)

-Keeping your employees safe is always smart:

“An employee that reasonably believes he/she has been put in imminent danger because of being forced to go to work during a hurricane may file a complaint with OSHA against the employer and then ask for whistleblower protection.” (From Guidance For Employers’ Hurricane and Disaster Preparation by Duane Morris LLP)

-Sometimes the best policy isn’t what the law says, but what feels right:

“The FMLA does not, in itself, require employers to give employees time off to attend to personal matters arising out of a natural disaster, such as cleaning a flood-damaged basement, salvaging belongings, or searching for missing relatives… However, employers clearly have the right to voluntarily provide leave in these situations pursuant to their personnel policies.” (From Are Employees Eligible for FMLA Leave When A Natural Disaster Strikes? by Franczek Radelet P.C.)

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