Posted by: Martie | 2009-08-24

Overtime until dark

Hi Doc
We are in an admin office where we are required to work one or two weeks a month until dark because of month-end.
We have protested for months because we feel that it is dangerous for our lot of women to drive home alone at dark but there is little sympathy.
Now on Thursday after overtime (in the dark) our littlest most delicate young woman in our office was hijacked and abducted and had to endure the most terrible torture. She survived this ordeal but will of course never be the same again.
The official standpoint from management is that it could have happened anytime anywhere, which is true in one sence. But to me that fact is that it DIDNT happen anywhere anytime. It happened AFTER overtime in the DARK when she was alone in her car on her way home.
I am scared of the same happening to me - I am not a very strong person and I doubt whether I would survive something like this. Could I be fired for refusing to work until dark? I suppose so. Also when I decided to do an office admin job in my past, I did it to avoid having to go out at night - and now I am in a similar situation anyway!
I would appreciate any advice.
Kind regards

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Our expert says:
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The darkness is not the test as to whether you are doing overtime. This is normally whether you are doing more than 45 hours per week.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Boetie | 2009-08-30

I don' t think that management can legally be held responsibel for the safety of the staff after work. However if they are caring people then out of decency they SHOULD be concerned for thes safety of staff. Their whole attitude about the incident leaves much to be desired. If everybody in the office stands together + cofronts management, presenting a united front + tell mamngement " enough is enough"  then management must take notice. They certainly can' t fire everybody because then nobody will be there to do the work. Perhaps suggest that some of the overtime can be done by coming in earlier in the morning.
Good luck

Reply to Boetie
Posted by: Mauritz Moolman | 2009-08-25

The employer is vicariously liable only in scope and course of duty although 6 pm to 6 am is night work and employer must consider safety and transport issues

Reply to Mauritz Moolman

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