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Can I be fired for leaving on a fire call?
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Can I be fired for leaving on a fire call?

I work as a volunteer firefighter in Wisconsin. I also work for a local resort, which adopting a new policy about attendance. It states that if anyone calls in or leaves early that they will get written up no matter what the excuse is. Ie: in labor, fire call, ill, broken bone. Each call in would be considered 1 point and every consecutive day after is 1/2 point. Once they reach 10 points they are fired. As I am on a department that requires me to show up a minimum of 20% a year in order to stay on the department and we have about 300 calls a year I sometimes have to leave work in order to go to a call. (We are a paid per call department) In the past they have let me leave and then come back no problem. But now even if I leave and come back it will still be a point on my record. The points do come back or get taken away monthly: ie if you have 5 points you cannot call in or leave early for 5 months. My question is can my work legally fire me for leaving on fire calls?


2009-07-29 18:57:23 +0000
Well my husband is a Volunteer Firefighter and well there is no way that you can make every call your primary job that pays the bills should be your first priority it is simply "volunteer" I am sure that legally if you are not performing the duties that you are supposed to that they could let you go...

2009-07-29 18:34:32 +0000
Of course especially if you told no one you were not coming back, my job has a no excuse policy 3 unexcused tardies within 6 month period and you are fired no matter who you are.

2009-07-29 18:38:51 +0000
There is no law requiring your employer to allow you to leave your post to fight fires. I know they should be a little more considerate, I wonder how they would feel about it if it were their home on fire????

But they're not required by law. They set up the attendance policy and notified you about it, if you didn't talk them into making special arrangements for you, then they are within their rights.

You might contact the resorts corporate office, if one exists.

2009-07-29 18:36:16 +0000
uh...absent a collective barganing agreement, union, or contract, the short answer is yes.

Talk to HR> they live for this kind of thing.

2009-07-29 18:53:10 +0000
As things stand in the state of Wisconsin, yes, your employer may terminate you for violating their attendance policy.

While a handful of states such as Tennessee have statutes protecting certain employment rights of volunteer firefighters, even they are limited to responding to a call prior to reporting for work.

Wisconsin has no such statutes protecting employment.

What that boils down to is your ability to leave work is entirely dependent on the goodwill of your employer. Should they choose to enforce their employee policies on absenteeism and leaving work early, they're entirely within their legal rights to do so.

2009-07-29 18:35:58 +0000
Yes, they can legally do that.

Just because it is legal does not mean they have to do it. Talk to your employer and see if an exception can be made.

2009-07-29 18:33:29 +0000
Absolutely. Your employer needs you to be there.

If your two jobs are in conflict, lose one.

2009-07-29 18:39:22 +0000
You need to talk to the person in HR that came up with this system. You need an exception to it, and they may be willing to do it for a volunteer fire fighter. Your direct boss was handed all of this on a stone tablet from on high, so he's just doing what he was told and really can't cut you slack.

Go to HR to find out whether they put this policy in place to get rid of people like you. If so, you need to decide whether you want to work at a resort or a fire department. I think they'll work with you though--especially if you are the kind of employee who would clock out to fight a fire and then come back to finish the shift. Also, the employer made this policy thinking they held all the cards (replacement employees are available). If you are a particularly good employee that the boss would hate to lose, maybe he could put in a word for you too.

2009-07-29 18:34:12 +0000
I would ask Obama. You can e-mail him: obama4prez@gmail.com

2009-07-29 18:42:06 +0000
Set your priorities. All i got to say.

2009-08-02 09:37:36 +0000
As everyone said, talk with your work, they might be able to be lenient.. check with HR and see if they can do sometime for you..

Also, check with your Vollie FD, if they want to keep you, and you are having problems making 20% because of work, the might be able to let you off the hook, maybe bring in a note with your schedule so you have an "excused absence" from the FD..

If neither are willing to work with you, it is time to start making decisions. looking for another volunter group or another job.

But yes, they can legally fire you unless there is a specific state law that forbids them.

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