I'm a business owner and am lucky enough to be able to drop everything and leave whenever the tone goes off. I've had other employees that have worked for me that were on our fire dept too. Most of the time I had no problem with them leaving work to help fight a fire. But there are times when I have committments to customers and things scheduled that must be done. Those times they were not able to leave.
I can see both sides of the arguement. If it is an emergency and they need all hands on deck, then I believe that most employeers would not have a problem letting someone leave. But if that employee is trying to leave for every little scrapped knee, nosebleed, smoke alarm, ect then I can see that the employer would need to put a stop to it.
You have to remember that the business have duties & obligations too, while they can sympathize with an emergency happening elsewhere it does not mean that they can come to a screeching halt and let their employees run off.
I know in NJ there are laws to protect the vol, fire an ems responders. Even if your state does not support the volunteers, you may want to consult a labor attourney. You may not want to go back to work there after a law suit, however, you may get some money out of it.
You didn't say what kind of work you were doing? Some jobs you can not just walk away from to answer the pager. Some you can leave an get back to, I am sure a lawyer will also ask the question. Good luck
. Firefighters And Volunteer Firefighters
A fireman is a person who fights fires in homes, buildings, structures, and outdoors. There are two types of firefighters, career and volunteer. Volunteer firefighting is the most popular type of fireman. Those who make a career out of it get a salary, work full time, work scheduled shifts, and are usually based in a local firehouse.
Most firefighters, however, are volunteer workers. They make up a volunteer fire department, or VFD, and make up 73 percent of all firefighters in the United States. Volunteers generally have other jobs outside of firefighting and remain on an on-call status day and night. On-call firefighters may also be expected to volunteer and help with other duties, as well. These may include fundraising, training, cleaning, equipment maintenance, and more. Volunteer firefighters must leave whatever they are doing if they are called to a fire. This includes being at work, asleep, or out for recreation. A volunteer firefighter is allowed, by law, to leave their workplace if responding to a fire call, and cannot get into trouble for it.
I found this after I did a search on the topic.
Do not know how old this is or how it pertains to your location but it just shows that there are laws out there for volunteer firefighters
Texas is a "right to work" state. Meaning that most employers can terminate an employee without giving notice or reason (there are some exceptions). I don't know about Kansas law. There was a federal bill which died in committee that was to address this issue.
That being said, even as bad as I need people to show up on calls, I tell them that a volunteer department won't put food on your table. The job should come first.
Unfortunately, most employers don't tolerate leaving the workplace to attend a fire. Like The Moyers says, when you begin a job, discuss the volunteer situation, and the head honcho may be sympathetic. However, whether it's a right-to-work state or not, if you leave work, without the owner/manager's permission, you can be terminated.
With the current job environment the way it is -- turn off your pager or scanner when you're at work. Your #1 priority is providing for your family.
In Tennessee you can be late for work with "getting in trouble" but if you call in and say "I'm at a fire" you could be fired for other reasons. Once at work you have to stay there, it's like oldman said the vollie department don't put food on the table.
It sounds like a situation where your state, county or local laws will dictate the actions that can or will occur. It would be great if all vollies could just leave when they need to or have a call, unfortunately there is the employers side as well. Im sure that they need your productivity...Sounds like a situation where there needs to be a "sit down" with the employee and employer both before getting hired, or after being hired and then starting in the fire service. It sounds like a very tough situation to be in. I hope it can be worked out.
In Il. if population is under 3000 you can leave our work with out being fired state law . the Key is population under 3000 I live in a town of 6000 + it dose not cover me we have a state senator that is a Vol firefighter and he pushed the law through.
An employer can fire a volunteer firefighter work for leaving for a dispatched alarm. Some states have laws that protect volunteer firefighters who were at a fire prior to their start time and were late or missed work.
The short of it is .. your heart is in the right place....
but your boss is right.....
The long of it is....Not sure what state you are in... but if you work locally enough to respond then , work out a deal with the boss for extreme working fires...
And yes I believe any boss that sees you leave to work somewhere else, and your shift is not done.... well they can not count on you... and whether or not the job you are going to is a paid or unpaid job.... you are leaving them unstaffed.....somewhere else.
I am a union worker, and I can get fired for being off the job... but at least I will have a union rep to cry on his shoulders, because even though I felt running to a fire to help someone is obviously more important...just like many of us...
A boss says he has his own responsibilities and they ... need to count on you... that's why they hired you.... because his customers count on him and you for being there and that is what they are paying for...
Now SHould the house be your own or your family memebers .. well then that is a familly emergency... and be ready to show proof of that...because if you have proof it's your immediate family...
YOU and your Family comes first as a volunteer. (No boss can blame you....and how often is that going to happen)
Next comes your abilty to provide for your family... pay your bills, take care of everyone medically.
maybe 1 or 2 more priorities..
Then come being a volunteer....
Gary ... like I said you have your heart in the right place... but always take care of you and your families abiltity to survive..
God bless and take care