Burning Question: Limiting Off-Duty Work

Today’s Burning Question: Amid the pandemic we are facing my department has instituted new orders to prepare for the near future. Many of our firefighters serve at surrounding fire departments as part-time members. Can the department place restrictions on their off-duty work? Answer: In ordinary times, a fire department that seeks to limit the outside employment of off-duty members faces a number of hurtles.

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Burning Question: COVID 19 and HIPAA Hysteria

Today’s Burning Question: Does HIPAA allow first responders to be notified of critical information such as the addresses of positive covid-19 patients? Answer: HIPAA Hysteria… I do not know why HIPAA gets blamed for being a boogey-man, but HIPAA does not prohibit fire and EMS personnel from conveying necessary information to each other.

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Kentucky Firefighter Charged With Sexual Abuse of Colleague

A Kentucky firefighter has been fired from one department and suspended without pay from a second after he was accused of having unwanted sexual contact with a colleague in the firehouse. Elijah Mays was arrested earlier this week, hours after he allegedly assaulted a female colleague

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Coronavirus Shift Change and the FLSA

Today’s burning question: Our firefighters work a 24-48 schedule on a 28-day work period. In light of the coronavirus emergency, we have decided to implement a 7-day on, 14-day off schedule. We have a very light workload and do not anticipate exhaustion being an issue. Does the FLSA prohibit such a schedule? And if not, how would we implement it?

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Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Termination of Firefighter

The termination of a Tennessee firefighter who was fired in 2015 following an off-duty altercation, has been upheld by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Paul Zachary Moss was fired by the Shelby County Fire Department following a no-contest plea to charges that he assaulted two men with a firearm.

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California Firefighter and City Settle Discrimination Suit

A lawsuit accusing the La Habra Heights Fire Department of religious discrimination and sexual harassment, has been settled. Former volunteer firefighter Jared Hartstein filed the suit in LA County Superior Court accusing the department of terrorizing him throughout his five months of training.

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Collateral Damage Discipline of Boston Lieutenants Reversed

In a particularly blunt decision, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission has overturned the discipline of two Boston fire lieutenants referring to them as “collateral damage for what appears to be a strategic move to counter” race discrimination allegations. Lt Marc Hayhurst and Lt Brian Summering were suspended for two tours each.

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