I work in a laboratory in a team of 5 people. Being in Wisconsin, the winter months can bring storms that can make travel dangerous. I live close to work, >10 minute drive, as do two of my coworkers. My other two coworkers and my supervisor all have about a 30-40 minute commute.
Of the three of us that live in town, the other two have early shifts, starting around 6-6:30 and leaving 2:30-3. I work 8-4:30.
Yesterday, we had a snow storm come through that dropped freezing rain and then about 8" of snow. My supervisor told everyone to finish up what they had to and go home. One of my co-workers that commutes has work that needs to get done in the afternoon, typically arriving at the lab around 1:30 (but was late due to the snow). I asked my coworker if she wanted me to stay to help and she said no, so I went home around 2pm.
This morning, that coworker spoke to our supervisor about how it was unfair that she had to stay and work despite having a longer commute than some of the rest of us. She told me this as well, though did not accuse me if anything. I told her she could have asked me to stay and she told me she doesn't feel she should have to ask a coworker to stay over her, that that should be the supervisor's responsibility. I agree with this.
Our supervisor has called a meeting this afternoon and she told my coworker that this issue would be brought up. I'm not sure the best way for this issue to be resolved and, knowing my supervisor, I'm concerned at what her solution will be. Primarily, I'm concerned that, as a local employee that works later, I will be selected to cover work and stay anytime the weather gets bad, at the expense of getting my own work done. I am also concerned that I will get scolded for not offering to stay and am not sure how to respond to such a thing. However, I also understand that letting people leave early due to the weather is not an equality thing... That it's really only being done for the safety of the people who have to commute.
My question is this:
When there is poor weather, is it fair for people with longer commutes to be let off early, expecting those with shorter commutes to stay and finish their work? And on a personal level, if I am the only person with a short commute and the hours necessary to cover that work, should I be okay with being expected to always be the one covering that work?
I did try to search for this topic and did not see anything similar, but I also have not used this site much. If there's any issue with my question, please let me know and I will fix it in any way necessary.