Four Largo, Fla., public employees have lost their jobs—two were fired and two resigned—for not showing up to work during Hurricane Irma.
Two of the employees were solid waste drivers. Both opted to leave work early to prepare for the storm. But a condition of employment with the city is that most employees may be required to be present during an emergency.
The Tampa Bay Times has more:
The employees said they were instructed to report to work the morning of Sept. 10 — the day before Irma blew through the area — and be prepared to stay for several days.
Brian Nutting, a solid waste driver who had worked for the city for more than two decades, said he was stunned that his supervisors fired him Sept. 15.
"It was like a sledgehammer hit me right between the eyes," Nutting, 58, said. "I didn't think they'd be that harsh to someone who has dedicated services to them for 24 years."
He reported the morning of Sept. 10 but left just before noon when the wind started to pick up. He wanted to be at his house about 2 miles from City Hall with his wife and their two dogs.
They considered evacuating, but worried that there wouldn't be room for their dogs. Nutting said he was aware of the consequences, but was expecting a suspension, not a termination.
"I would have taken a suspension, and I wouldn't have said a word about it," he said.
Adam Baur, a solid waste driver who had worked for the city since April, said he was expecting to get fired when he did not to go to work Sunday. He and several others were told to work an extra shift that Saturday to remove trash and debris from the road, said public works director Brian Usher.
Baur, 33, said that gave him little time to finish preparations, such as boarding his windows. When he signed the emergency responder form, he assumed employees would be given more time to get ready.
"This was basically about protecting my property and my loved ones," Baur said.