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Recently there was a severe weather alert (level 3 emergency) in the county where I work.

Company policy states that if there is a level 3 emergency declared, the day will be unpaid with no disciplinary consequences for not showing up (no point, no pay).

Because the level 3 emergency was dropped partway through the day, the company has disciplined all employees who did not come in for work saying that the 'no point, no pay' policy only applies in cases where the level 3 emergency is declared for the entire day. If there is no level 3 emergency then employees should come to work for 'business as usual'.

The concerns of the employees punished are:

  1. The policy as-written clearly states no punishment if you do not come in when there is a level 3 emergency
  2. There was absolutely no guidance in the official policy or related by any other means indicating that the policy changes mid-day if the level 3 emergency is changed
  3. Even if the level 3 emergency is changed mid-day, there is no way for employees to resume 'business as usual' immediately without having come in during the level 3 emergency in the first place

We would like to bring this up with management to get the points removed from our records for this event and to make the management create clearer guidelines before resorting to punishment in the future.

How can we tactfully bring this up to management to negotiate their decision?

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    Welcome to The Workplace! Your question was closed because it had a lot of confusing terminology and didn't really have a practical question we could answer in it, so I made a significant edit to try to get it reopened. If you think the question that's there now won't get you useful answers, please feel free to improve it with an edit of your own! – jmac Jan 16 '14 at 4:46
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    @mhoran_psprep, what the contract says and how to implement it may be a legal question, but the process (taking a look at what your contract says, addressing the content with your rep) is definitely something that would be of value as an answer. Many people may not be familiar with how these sorts of things work, and having that available would be useful to anyone who searches for 'no point, no pay' which is not very useful to search for on google – jmac Jan 16 '14 at 6:17
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    @mhoran_psprep - Some companies implement policies that use union contract terms with the intent of providing the policies and benefits that a Union could negotiate for with out the union being present. This tactic means that the union has little it can promise the workers making it less likely that the workers will unionize and potentially cost the company more money. And if they do unionize the company has a good starting position in negotiations. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 '14 at 19:26
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Once you identify the person to talk to (as @itcouldevenbeaboat mentioned), you can ask to have a meeting with two goals:

(1) Clarify the emergency policy - Hopefully explaining how the policy is ambiguous and it is impossible to resume work as normal right after an emergency, will lead to a more logical policy. Once the policy is clarified, you can use that as the rationale for goal 2...

(2) Determine any retroactive displinary corrections - Correcting the disciplinary action retroactively to match the new, unambiguous policy.

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In order to deal with this, you need to make your appeal directly to the person capable of fixing this decision.

The first step would be to identify the right person. Head of HR would be good, and then the next step up would probably be the VP in charge of HR, then the president themself.

Keep in mind, that to give you guys your money (which I think you ought to have,) whoever issued the disciplinary action is going to have to admit they are wrong. That means they are going to fight you for it.

I feel like your reasons explained above are very reasonable, so you should explain them to someone in charge, and hope that they are reasonable.

If that doesn't work, the question is, how badly do you need your job? If you are unwilling to take a stand in any way, or walk away from this job, then it will be difficult to affect change.

I'm not a big fan of issuing ultimatums. Personally, I would quit, just like that. But if you don't want to quit, the above are your options, as I see it.

In regards to seeking help from an external government authority, this is very noble, but honestly it would probably take months to change anything, and the government agency would, at best, simply meddle with your company or shut them down.

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I would suggest that if you are in the US, your best bet it to take your questions to your state Department of Labor.

This is a legal issue and the state Labor department can tell you if you have a case without charging you anything. I have used them several times in various jobs to find out if something was legal or not and find out what my options were.

Take a look at your state's Department of Labor website to obtain contact information and learn more about how they can help.

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    @HLGEM - I edited your comments into the post. Feel free to clean up or reword or rephrase anything, as I don't want to put words in your mouth. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Jan 17 '14 at 1:49

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