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  1. #1
    Forum Member IGotTheJumpSeat's Avatar
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    Default Backlash of Civilian employers

    I dont know if this is the right place to post this, but it's the best place I could find, so hear goes...

    I'm a vollie with a small rural FD. We dont get alot of calls, and when we do get them, and i'm nearby or home, i'm there! Here's my issue...My employeer, to put it mildly, dislikes, training that I may have to go to on saturdays or sundays if i'm scheduled to work.
    As of late, i've been taking personal days, if i'm scheduled to work, just to get in training on the weekends. They HATE that.

    I have not missed or been late a single day through the week due to a call, but I have advised my supervisor that if the rare occurance happened that tones dropped while on my way to work, or right before I leave for work, i'm going, and i'll be late.

    I've even had a supervisor tell me "being a FF is not as important as being here". That sort of struck me the wrong way. I thought to myself "Well if i'm on my way to work and I pass his house, and it's on fire and his wife and kids are trapped inside, sorry boss man says "being a FF is not as important as being at work" and keep on going so i'm not late. /sarcasm

    Now i'm well aware of the Ohio Revised Code 4113.41. Which simply states that my employeer can not "legally" discipline or fire me for such as i've stated above, but some of you might know, small companys and big alike have a way around everything.

    Any Vollies out there ever ran into this sort of situation before? If so, how did you deal with it?


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber lenny91's Avatar
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    I don't get to leave work for every call, and I'm the chief, as well as the boss at work. As far as the training sessions, how far in advance are you talking to your employer about these. I know I am much more likely to work with somebody on days off if we can plan ahead. I have 4 guys on our dept that work every weekend, they don't come to many trainings then, but they make all the fires during the week. Your boss may not be able to fire you for going to calls, but that promotion may not come your way either. Right or wrong, your supervisor thinks you should be at work, it's not a democracy, he's in charge. I'd be interested as to why your employer is "against" the fire service, and did you discuss the FD when you were hired? Is that the only issue that causes friction at work? Have you had your chief talk to your employer? I don't intend to sound rude, but I am on both sides of this one. Communication is the key to making this work for you. Legal action may get you excused for drills, but really won't do much for your career.
    Last edited by lenny91; 09-16-2005 at 12:42 AM. Reason: Can't spell a 2 letter word
    Jeremy Quist
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    Laurel, NE

    Not the end of the earth, but you can see clods falling off from here.

  3. #3
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    Yes,I have had that problem and been fired for"taking company vehicles to unauthorized destinations".
    Given that my former co workers would also take the company vehicles to get lunch,go to the post office or store during their lunch hour,as would I,if I were called it taking my lunch hour whenever the tones dropped for a report of smoke or even a fully involved trailer,it isn't his business where I went.
    I even asked him if his house was on fire would he want West McCracken's crews(I'm on a different volunteer department) to leave their jobs and rectify the situation or not.he's never answered it because"that's not part of our conversation."
    Don't you just love it when you box the boss in and he can't get out?

  4. #4
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    Just be very careful about how you go about this with your boss. Your most likely won't "technically" fire you for the fire department issues, however the next time you give them the slightest window to terminate you they probably will. At that point you would have no problem making calls, trainings, but might have some trouble making the electric bill.

  5. #5
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IGotTheJumpSeat

    I've even had a supervisor tell me "being a FF is not as important as being here". That sort of struck me the wrong way. I thought to myself "Well if i'm on my way to work and I pass his house, and it's on fire and his wife and kids are trapped inside, sorry boss man says "being a FF is not as important as being at work" and keep on going so i'm not late. /sarcasm
    Cool your jets.....your boss IT CORRECT. He's paying you to do a job....that money pays YOUR bills. Vollying comes second....so being a vollie FF is NOT as important as your REAL job. He's paying you to do a service for him....so he can make money....(capitalism..ain't it great) I doubt he will discipline you in the EXTREAME RARE occation that if you pass a bldg fire and are late. When I was a volly...my bosses would let me go to building fires....but I didn't go to every one b/c I was doing something at work that had to be finished. You said yourself you guys are not that busy....so unless EVERY run is a job.....you should be at work...not at Automatic Alarms, CO, MVAs, EMS, wires down, car fires...etc etc etc

    Now i'm well aware of the Ohio Revised Code 4113.41. Which simply states that my employeer can not "legally" discipline or fire me for such as i've stated above, but some of you might know, small companys and big alike have a way around everything.
    Its doubt its enforced.....besides...they'll make your life misserable enough to quit.

    Leave your page at home, go to work, earn a living, and go to runs when you are available. The vollies don't put food on the table or close on your back....unless you plan on eating hot dogs and wearing buff shirts the rest of your life.
    Last edited by VinnieB; 09-19-2005 at 01:55 PM.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber lenny91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson
    Given that my former co workers would also take the company vehicles to get lunch,go to the post office or store during their lunch hour,as would I,if I were called it taking my lunch hour whenever the tones dropped for a report of smoke or even a fully involved trailer,it isn't his business where I went.
    It sure is his business where you went, it is his vehicle, his insurance. If he doesn't want you to take it, that's it, end of conversation. I think you are approaching this problem all wrong and the outcome will not be positive for you.

    You didn't answer the rest of my first post.

    I'd be interested as to why your employer is "against" the fire service?
    Did you discuss the FD when you were hired?
    Is that the only issue that causes friction at work?
    Have you had your chief talk to your employer?
    Last edited by lenny91; 09-21-2005 at 02:43 PM.
    Jeremy Quist
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    Laurel, NE

    Not the end of the earth, but you can see clods falling off from here.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Longtime volly here...sorry, gotta agree with your boss on this one. Your job comes first. It's not his concern what you do on your off time, but if it's going to interfere with you doing your job, you just made it his concern. He's paying you to be there at certain times and he has every right to expect you to be there.

    Try to understand that he's got a business to run. Some employers are very good about allowing employees to come in late, leave for calls, have off for training, etc. Some don't feel that way. That's a shame, but that's life.

    Also, what about your co-workers who have to pick up your slack if you're not there? Is that fair to them?

    Your boss may be willing to work with you a bit if you also make some concessions. Do you ALWAYS try to get off for weekend training? I mean, to the point where it's become a sore subject? Unless you're self employed or a lottery winner, you'll just have to accept the fact that you won't be able to make EVERY training session. Maybe you can get him to agree that you can take off for some training, occasionally, with some notice in advance. Then save those "favors" for times when the training has the most value, like if you need it for a certification or you're going out of town to the fire academy or something like that.

    My boss has even allowed me to take PAID days off to attend training, but it's not something I abuse. Maybe once a year, if that. It can't be every other weekend. Of course, the training I attend has some value in my paid job, so that helps.

    If he does agree that you can come in a little late because you had a call, don't abuse it. Don't use it as an excuse to run every medical call or smoke investigation. Save it for the rare "big ones". And even then, make it understood with your chief that you'll just help out until the fire's under control, then you gotta go to work. My guys do it all the time....so do I for that matter. You may have to leave the cleaning up, racking hose, filling SCBA's etc. to someone else.

    Also, do yourself a favor and drop the whole "What if YOUR house was on fire?" routine.....it sounds whiny and unprofessional, and I don't think it's helping your case much.

    Also, consider this....even though it ****es off a lot of volunteers to hear it (especially the young, gung-ho types), the fact is that your department got along fine before you joined and they'll get along fine after you're gone. So they can manage without you once in a while if they have to. You don't have to make everything.....
    Last edited by dmleblanc; 09-21-2005 at 05:16 PM.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  8. #8
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    Gotta agree with the others. If I'm the employer I don't care what you do in your time off, because it shouldn't matter. You're scheduled to work you go to work. When I got hired at my current job this spring there was a real "whakcer hero" in my orientation with me. He got the lecture by the boss man about horror stories dealing with former Voll FF employees. Skipping work, missing work etc. It wasn't until just recently he found out I was on the FD too... In fact with no markings on my POV I don't think anybody knows, that's just the way I like it.

    -Nick

  9. #9
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    My first job was at a local grocery store where the boss was a general *****. He was aware of volly/POC situation. This was before there was any "law" about it, when I statred there full time I was salaried. We got an hour for lunch, if a run came in and they were short I would take the run, BUT not every time, and I had to make up the time I cut into someone elses lunch hour. You know what the funny thing was ...................he never EVER said a word about being "late" from lunch for answering a run. And I NEVER abused the privledge, so although he wasnt the nicest man, I think what I posted said something about him. And he would try and work around my days off if I needed to for training. And you still havent answered Lenny's questions.
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  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    When I was in high school and college I also worked at the local grocery store. I wasn't in the fire department yet but I worked with a couple of guys who were....the fire station was right across the street from the grocery store, and although the boss was generally an ***** like Weruj1's, he would actually let these guys stay on the clock and respond to fires. Of course, this was before we got real busy with medical calls and such, but I thought it was very community minded of him.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  11. #11
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    A very wise man told me once when I started as a Volunteer many moons ago
    how life should be and he was right......
    #1. Your Family comes first
    #2. Your Job comes second.....you cant take care of #1 if you dont have #2
    #3. Then you can take care of your Mistress aka the Fire Dept,FAS, or
    whatever takes your attention from #1 or #2.

  12. #12
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    As I said,he didn't mention in the hearing the uneployment office threw for me but in the dismissal notice,he gave me,he said it was for going to the post office,lunch and such in company vehicles,which is something my co workers did as well.
    If we had a call,I would just log that on my timesheet as having lunch during that time.
    In a face to face conversation,he mentioned that it was the fire thing that made him think I was going to wreck out going to calls.I used to work for his brother driving a wheelchair bus and he had no problem with me going to the station in the bus as long as I wasn't carrying a passenger who would be either physically or mentally handicapped,or both.I knew that before I filled out the application and it wouldn't have happened even if my passenger wanted to go and see.
    My Chief did give me a copy of the Kentucky Revised Statutes on the matter.Yes,an employer can deny you time to respond to calls but neither can he fire you for going to them.If you are late to work because of a fire/EMT call,he cannot do anything about it except,of course,not pay the time you were late.
    My former boss may or may not be against the fire service.Two of my former co workers are and were volunteers who would sit around on slow days giving me"field training"on what they'd seen in their time.

    Quote Originally Posted by lenny91
    It sure is his business where you went, it is his vehicle, his insurance. If he doesn't want you to take it, that's it, end of conversation. I think you are approaching this problem all wrong and the outcome will not be positive for you.

    You didn't answer the rest of my first post.

    I'd be interested as to why your employer is "against" the fire service?
    Did you discuss the FD when you were hired?
    Is that the only issue that causes friction at work?
    Have you had your chief talk to your employer?

  13. #13
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    There were numerous times when I was driving for the local cab company and I would have to go in a cover someone else's call duty when they suddenly decided they wanted time off.It got bad enough I asked the boss to see if he could buy the Batsignal from Warner Brothers and save some money on pagers.
    I never got any compensation other than the OT paid by the company and never got any return consideration from the other drivers.It seems they'd learn from others that if they didn't want the late week run,"just don't show up and Doug will take it".One former driver even went so far as to think out loud that it was my job to cover when people didn't want their assigned late duty.
    That might have gone over better when I needed the extra money but if I was at training and had to leave,my name got taken off the attendence roster and I didn't get the credit for showing up.
    As I said,the taxi owner was the brother of the guy that fired me(he owns a "grandfathered"paint shop with no sprinklers ) and denied it was FD related.They are two different people even though I wouldn't work for either of them if the other option was jail.
    On the times that I did respond with either employer,I would inform the driver supervisor and she would tell me if we had anything going before I went.I didn't just haul off and say"Ta-ta"to my real job.
    I know which pays the bills and keeps me in new guns and movies.I just wish that I had a boss that would understand that sometimes the needs of the community are sometimes more important than getting back to the store and sit around waiting for the next car paint delivery.

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