Riding Out the (Franken)Storm: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Disaster Recovery

Sandy has already been called “the storm of a lifetime,” and at time of writing it hasn’t even fully made landfall yet. As people up and down the East Coast prepare for the onslaught, this is perhaps a good time for all of us to consider the types of preparations that can ease recovery for any business affected by natural disaster:

1. Map out your insurance claims:

“Property and business interruption insurance policies are often complex, and your suppliers, customers and other business partners’ insurance situation may have a direct effect on you as well. Even if your business doesn’t suffer any direct physical damage to its facilities following a natural disaster or other loss, your customers or suppliers may have, and that could result in what is known as a ‘supply chain’ or ‘contingent business interruption’ loss of revenue and sales.” (Lowenstein Sandler)

2. Update your employee contact lists:

“Emergency contact information for getting in touch with employees … includes having backup numbers in case of widespread power outages. With mobile phones being used so readily, that’s a great place to start but even those aren’t entirely useful either when the power to the cell towers goes down too.” (Pullman & Comley)

3. Keep the (time) clock running:

“Exempt employees must be paid their full salary for any week in which they perform work. Accordingly, if you are shut down for business for three out of five days during the workweek, the exempt employees must be paid their normal salary for the entire week. To do otherwise signifies that an employee is not exempt.” (Fisher & Phillips)

4. Be patient to avoid putting employees at risk:

“Hurricanes and other disasters present obvious safety concerns that employers need to consider when asking employees to come into work during adverse weather, including vehicle accidents, slips and falls, flying objects, electrical hazards from downed power lines, exhaustion from working extended shifts and dehydration. An employee who reasonably believes he or she has been put in imminent danger by being forced to go to work during a hurricane may file a complaint with OSHA against the employer and then ask for whistleblower protection.” (Duane Morris)

5. Plan for a clean-up without calling for volunteers:

““The FLSA does not permit employees to ‘volunteer’ unpaid time to the employer under any but the narrowest of circumstances. For example, if a manufacturing facility sets up a hotline or makes other arrangements to provide a clearinghouse for information about the status of the workplace and employee reporting times, non-exempt employees volunteering to perform such services are engaged in compensable hours worked for FLSA purposes.” (Fisher & Phillips)

The updates:

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