1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry 35 year old age ruling is clear discrimination!

    I was able to get hired after the age of 35 as a federal firefighter through the loop hole that allows it if you meet qualifications and if not hiring you creates a shortage... Well... 5 positions and 5 people applied.. So I got in. I was on a base that had been slated to close by Wild Bill. However, i was hired as a GS5, re-appointed to GS6, and then again re-appiinted to a GS8 (supervisory firefighter). Yet when the base closed I could not get re-appointed (did not have priority placement because I was considered temporary) to another installation because of my age and they would not extend the waiver. Some peopl who did get hired for places I applied met the qualifications, because I helped to train them. One such base sent me a letter saying I did not have the training qualifications. (28 years as volunteer and 19 as Career..costs $3.75 to mail my SF171 and certifications). When I mentioned that to them..they said..."Oh, you are too old but we didnt put that on the form." So, I am a victim of Discrimination. Who do I fight and what do I get out of it? Nothing... Takes money to sue and apparently Federal Govt is exempt from its own anti-discrimination laws. Anti discrimination, a law that the Federal Govt will have yiou fired for viloating. They should change their anti-discrimination statement to read, "We sometimes do not discriminate....." To tell you how confused agencies are.... One base would rate me qualified and others would not. I am well qualified and can and did do the job very well. I could not get hired at the age of 41 (too old to do job), but a 41 year old firefighter who has been on only 6 or 7 years can still work another 14 years on the job. How are we different...as long as I can do the job???? They argue that you have to retire at age 55...well true as a firefighter you do...but...you have option of asking for and extension. Or, you can always finish in another branch of govt. But...none the less, I could not get a re-appointment. If some lawyer reads this and want to sue the federal govt....please feel free to email me!

    Otherwise what do u think? Lets hear from you

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I think the 35 age limit sucks. I'm 36, and just finishing EMT-P and will be looking for a civilian dept. A lot of the civilian deptartments around here are hiring guys in their 40's! I think if you can do the job, age shouldn't matter. What do you think about the 72 hr shifts?

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Question: Were you GS5T-NTE1 when hired? If so, you don't have a leg to stand on. US Supreme Court ruled on temps during Truman's Administration.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I will address both responses at one sitting.

    #1 I did not mind the 72 hour shift work week and when they started paying OT it was better. My son-in-law is a federal firefighter also and he works a different shift... has two day breaks and 4 day breaks but more frequently. Seems as if he never works.

    #2 to EPFD-AL I was a GS0081 series. Regardless of whether temporary or permanent...It is clear cut discrimination. It does not matter during whose administration they "took care of it" in. It is outright blatant discrimination. And...it seems in this area regardless of the qualifications you have..if you are not buddy buddy with someone who works there you cant get on a federal job. Case in point...Federal Firefighter here was temporary and left to take job with municpal Fire Dept. Did not like it...got hired back as permanent as Firefighter on different Army base. Was offered a job with Airport Authority, left to work there. Was not satisfied and re-applied with same Army base and was re-hired. All in a span of September 99 to present. Now that is another gross injustice!

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    First of all, please understand that I'm on your side. I hate to be the one to tell you this; but you don't have a leg to stand on.

    I've "been there and done that" so I know how you feel. Back in the mid 70s I was a federal firefighter, (GS-3,4,and 5)temporary 'not to exceed one year' for MANY years.

    When the temporary positions I had been filling were finally posted as permanent I was unable to apply or get appointed because I was temporary.

    My performance, training, and time served meant absolutley nothing, and my application was rejected. Outsiders, and permanent workers from other installations with much less or no training and experience (and a whole lot less dedication) got my position. I didn't have a leg to stand on - I was temporary.

    Uncle Sam, who didn't want to keep me, the temporary, then added insult to injury by asking me to stay on a month and help train these new permanent people. Train them? Hell no, I took all my annual leave and quickly disappeared.

    You first stated in your original post that you did not have priority because you were considered temporary. In your case, your temporary status is the only issue; your age is a non-factor.

    I doubt they put your age as the reason for rejection in writing. They're stupid, but NOT that stupid. They might (wrongfully) tell you that orally, but they will later deny it. Your age was a not the reason - but your temporary status was.

    The problem lies in and with the federal government's still legal use of temporary workers. Temporary status is technically day to day. They can ship you out the gate anytime. It stinks, but it's still legal.

    You, me, and countless others temps in all branches of the federal government have experienced this kind of fustration.

    Temporary workers for the federal government have fought reduction in force layoffs, transfer denials, and promotional rejections for years without success because, simply put, temporary workers have no rights; and the Supreme Court agreed by allowing lower court rulings to stand, and that started over fifty years ago.

    Is it fair? NO, of course not. Reforms are badly needed because darn good people, just like you, are being shown the gate while inexperienced and ill-trained, (but well connected) people just walk right in.

    Sadly, reform apprears to be a good way off, not in our time anyway, because nobody wants to get involved; it's easier for everyone to look the other way - especially when it doesn't affect them or their job status.

    Temporary status must be eliminated.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    First off...I knew going in that I was hired as temporary GS0081 GS5 NTE....yada yada yada. And my age was a FACTOR. The Chief of facility had to write letter requesting variance based on that loop hole in hiring regs. Then, initially because I was over 45 they tried to say I could only drive. Well, he had to write another request for waiver (i saw it) and I was "supposed" to get a waiver which got burried on some bureacrats desk and was never signed because the post was closing. I continued to function fully as a firefighter pending the approval of "waiver" which never came. I was promoted to GS-6 and then to a GS-8 all as temporary NTE. The jobs I applied for were open to all sources so temporary status did not effect that. The original rejection letter said "do not posess the training qualifications." I challenged that and they then send me a letter explaing the regulations relating to age and a statement that said, Status: "Ineligible due to the fact you have exceeded maximum age limit." The problem is that some politician supported the idiotic ruling with the swipe of a pencil and had no clue what he signed when they gave DOD the authority to establish maximum entry age. DISCRIMINATION anyway you read or wirte it! If you know a Lawyer willing to take them on with the understanding I have no money and he would only get paid if he wins...let me know!

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    At first glance someone could try to advance a legal arguement on your behalf that the government had established precedent by giving you prior age waivers.

    Unfortunatley, in most circumstances there are limits as to the numbers of times that age, (and other factors such as residency, prior service, military time, citizenship, language and physical limitations) can be waived.

    Age is one of those considerations that is usually only waived once, a one time deal, and at initial hire; irregardless of the temporary or permanent status of the position. Some big shot - way up on the political food chain has to approve second waivers, and he's only going to want to know what you did for HIM lately.

    You made the mistake of being a dedicated firefighter who was more concerned with training, performance, and doing your job right, than with making friends in high places. Another case of "it's not WHAT you know - but WHO you know that matters."

    The roots and history of temporary employees in the federal government all stems from political patronage. Yes, the government legitimatley hires temporary people when needed, for the census and the like; but politicians throughout history have given out jobs and controlled hiring based on how you voted. To make sure people voted right - they kept the jobs temporary. That same kind of politician can very easily see to it that an age rule gets fudged for the right person.

    You were a temporary employee. As far as Uncle Sam is concerned, your dedication, training, experience, and length of service all adds up to a big fat zero.

    It seems to me, and I've seen it before, that your story boils down to that they just wanted someone else in the position. Someone else who has someone like an uncle or father-in-law in power that is! Your job or the one that should be yours was dealt away to someone who knows somebody or as payment for political favors.

    You already had an age waiver, so age ain't the problem, it's just their latest excuse. They tried to hide behind your training and qualifications, but that didn't work. If they didn't have age to hide behind they would find some other excuse - some BS that you were unreliable, disruptive, or a danger to those you were leading.

    I'm real sorry, but if "you can't fight city hall" is true, and it is, your luck isn't going to be better against Uncle Sam. Lots of people have tried and failed.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks for your comments and understanding. I will continue to find a volunteer department who appreciates the service and experience. I stand chance to make more money in this private sector job anyway, since Hazardous Materials = big $$$. But, firefighting is in my blood and what I want to be doing. SUMMARY: Screwed by Uncle Sam...and not even a Kiss!

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    This is a very interesting commentary. I once was a federal firefighter. I am now emp-loyed with a city. Alot of qualified individuals get hired as temporary, and then find it hard to get picked up by another organization, due to consideration factors of the status of your current position. The one individual who you commented on probably had reinstatement rights to the position he left. Also, individual characteristics play a major role while a department looks at a qualified candidate. I know before I left the system, more infancy was being placed on previous history of qualified individuals by selecting officials. This one individual in perticular had to display some degree of positive work effort and team skills to get reselected for the job he left. Also, it seems odd for an individual w/ 19 career years in the fire service to be trying at such a late stage to transition over to the federal sector. I number of your years had to of been with a municiple or industrial sector. If you had any delinquencies with your prior service, they may have come back to haunt you with your job seeking. This is only a possible conclusion by me after examining your previous commentaries. Good Luck with your future indevours.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks for your comments 1engjake. Why I left the municipal dept never played a factor. In fact I had a letter of recommendation from the Personnel Officer fo that Department. If you read closely, I was even promoted from GS5 to GS6 and then GS8 in less than a year. In fact the Chief from one place I applied called and asked why my name was not on the list as he wanted to select me. It all related to age and the waiver issue. It is clear discrimination based on age for. But..you are correct, it is all who you know or are related to when trying to get on a federal fire department these days!

    Stay safe

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