Your legal rights after Hurricane Irma

(WSVN) - Day one of the cleanup from Irma and South Floridians have been busy. What they don’t have time to do is research their legal rights in various situations. But we can do that for you with Help Me Howard and Patrick Fraser.

Irma left a lot to be cleaned up, dried up and rebuilt. It’s a big job … provided you still have a job.

You can’t get to work because of all the debris in the street, can your boss fire you?

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes, you can be fired.”

You followed the order to evacuate, therefore you couldn’t go to work this weekend. Can you be fired for that?

Howard Finkelstein: “It sounds wrong, but yes, you can be fired if you can’t get to work when ordered to do so.”

Your company is closed this week, do you get paid?

Howard Finkelstein: “No, you cannot get paid unless you have an employment contract, or you are a salaried employee.”

Various cities have curfews — you’re able to get to work, but when you leave work, the curfew is in effect. Can you be arrested for that?

Howard Finkelstein: “Theoretically, yes, and it could happen. In most circumstances, the police officer, after talking to you, will tell you go home.”

You followed the order to evacuate. Now you want to go back to your house, but the police are blocking the roads. Can they stop you from going to your own home?

Howard Finkelstein: “They can stop you, they can physically restrain, they can do whatever they need to do to prevent you from getting to your house.”

You were planning on going to a hotel or taking a flight this weekend. Obviously you couldn’t do that because of Irma. Can you get your money back?

Howard Finkelstein: “This can be complicated, and it’s gonna depend upon the ticket that you purchased or the reservations that you made. Now, if the airline is not flying or the hotel is not open, they then cannot keep your money because they could not perform their service.”

One final question: last week, we told people that their association could not stop them from putting up shutters or plywood. One woman did it and then contacted me and said her association says they’re now going to fine her for doing that. Can they get away with it?

Howard Finkelstein: “They may try to fine you, but I don’t think they’ll get away with it. If they try, give us a call.”

Thanks very much, Howard. Now, if you have more questions, get in touch with us. We are here to help you out.

And remember, many of your friends and family members don’t have TVs yet, so email these stories to them, so they can get the information they need and they don’t get ripped off.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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