My work is paying for me to go to a conference in another city. They've booked the flights et cetera, so they've already invested a lot of money in this.

It's now just a few days out from the conference and the city has had a lot of earthquakes in the last few days. The media is saying it's relatively safe to travel to the area, and the conference organisers are not cancelling the conference, but I'm not convinced of my safety.

Is it reasonable to refuse to go to the conference? Is it ethical for the company to insist I go?

  • 1
    Have you voiced your concerns to your manager or to HR? – Jane S Nov 15 '16 at 0:17
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    If they've already had a lot of quakes there's no reason not to go--the stored energy is dissipated. – Loren Pechtel Nov 15 '16 at 1:00
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    @LorenPechtel pseudoscience much? – user42272 Nov 15 '16 at 1:08
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    @djechlin Earthquakes are caused by tension building up on a fault line. An earthquake is the release of this tension. While you might get aftershocks soon after a quake they're a lot weaker than the original and it doesn't sound like the original was bad in the first place. – Loren Pechtel Nov 15 '16 at 1:10
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    @djechlin Note that only two of those have even 1% of the energy of the initial quake. – Loren Pechtel Nov 15 '16 at 1:15

They can't force you to go. If you are concerned about the expense, perhaps offer the place to someone else instead? Otherwise, considering the conference is still going ahead, I'd say attendees safety should have been considered and the organisers believe it is safe to go. So perhaps think about your options, and make a decision. If you don't want to go, it would be better to tell them sooner rather than later so they can cancel or find a substitute to take your place. Considering that earthquakes are out of your (or anybody's) control, it shouldn't be too much of an issue if you decline based on that.

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