Burning Question: Are you staying or leaving

Today’s burning question: Can a senior officer ask a firefighter his/her intentions on whether they plan to stay or leave the department? Would this qualify as harassment or discrimination? Answer: There is no law that prohibits an officer from asking a firefighter about his/her future plans. There is nothing inherently harassing nor discriminatory in the question itself. However...

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Illinois Firefighter Sues For Discrimination and Retaliation

An Illinois firefighter who was elected to the city council and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor, is now suing the fire department, the fire chief and his opponent-mayor alleging he was discriminated against on account of his Mexican heritage, and retaliated against for his political efforts.

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Court Rules Against Fired Tennessee Fire Chief

A federal court in Tennessee has ruled against a former fire chief who claimed his termination last year violated his due process and 1st Amendment rights. Cocke County Fire Chief William Smallwood was fired last March by County Mayor Crystal Ottinge

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Can Substitutions Impact Exempt Executive Status

Today’s burning question: If a battalion chief who is classified as an exempt executive is allowed to trade time with captains or lieutenants that are "non-exempt", would that have any bearing on whether the battalion chief qualifies as exempt or not? Answer: There are two tests to determine whether an employee is an exempt executive: the salary test and the primary duty test. An employee must satisfy both tests in order to be exempt and ineligible for overtime under the FLSA.

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Texas Fire Department Sued for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

A Texas fire department is being sued for sexually harassing, retaliating and terminating a female office worker whose husband is also a firefighter. Julie Thomas filed suit against The Woodland Township Fire Department in US District Court. Thomas, who served as a Customer Service Representative for the department, claims ...

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Ousted Cal City Fire Chief Sues

A fire chief who was fired last December one day after he assisted with a marijuana bust, has filed suit alleging he was terminated because he refused to cave in to political pressure from city officials to be more lenient to marijuana business.

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Washington Court of Appeals Upholds Fireman’s Rule

The Washington State Court of Appeals handed down a decision last month reaffirming the application of the Fireman’s Rule as a prohibition against suits by emergency responders in the state of Washington. The suit was filed by a firefighter, Wynn Loiland, who was struck by a vehicle while at the scene of a previous accident. At the time the roads were slippery and several accidents had previously occurred in addition to the original accident.

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