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HAVE WEATHER, WILL TRAVEL

A municipal employee of a town in Chester County, Pennsylvania was terminated from her position due to excessive absence and tardiness over a period of time in the winter.  The employee’s union filed a grievance against the town, citing wrongful termination, in as much as the woman was unable to make the 32 mile drive into work on the days she was absent due to bad weather and poor driving conditions.  Attorneys representing the town presented evidence which showed that a number of other employees made it into work on those same days, and thus, the town was within its rights to terminate her employment.

The attorney working on behalf of the union contacted CompuWeather.  Presented with a list of days and the driving route that the woman would normally take on her way to and from work, the meteorologist assigned to the case went to work.  An analysis of the weather showed that on several of the days which the woman claimed she could not make it in to work, the weather was significantly different at her home, compared to where she worked.  And each time, the weather was worse.  In one instance, freezing rain changed over to rain at her workplace early in the morning.  But at her home, the freezing persisted into the midday hours, as her home was located in a valley area which held the colder air in place longer.  This meant that roads remained quite hazardous into the afternoon on that day.  On another day, scattered snow squalls fell across the area, but none of them in the town where she worked.  At the same time, heavy bursts of snow deposited several inches of snow in her hometown.  This caught the local highway department by surprise and delayed making the roads safe to drive on.  And on yet another instance, fog which had formed overnight, caused a slick glaze to form on many streets and roads in and around where she lived, due to temperatures which had fallen into the 20s during the night.  At the same time, in the town where she worked, no fog formed and thus no ice was ever produced.

The union attorney presented this evidence to the town, along with a request that the employee be reinstated to her job.  She was, and was given pay dating back to the date of termination.