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June 23, 2017

"I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even of supreme sacrifice."

 
Chief Edward F. Croker, FDNY
circa 1910



Firefighter Rights

Firefighter Bill Of Rights
Sep 06, 2009


 

Firefighter Bill of Rights  

 

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AS A FIREFIGHTER! 

 

112.82  Rights of firefighters.--Whenever a firefighter is subjected to an interrogation, such interrogation shall be conducted pursuant to the terms of this section.

(1)  The interrogation shall take place at the facility where the investigating officer is assigned, or at the facility which has jurisdiction over the place where the incident under investigation allegedly occurred, as designated by the investigating officer.

(2)  No firefighter shall be subjected to interrogation without first receiving written notice of sufficient detail of the investigation in order to reasonably apprise the firefighter of the nature of the investigation. The firefighter shall be informed beforehand of the names of all complainants.

(3)  All interrogations shall be conducted at a reasonable time of day, preferably when the firefighter is on duty, unless the importance of the interrogation or investigation is of such a nature that immediate action is required.

(4)  The firefighter under investigation shall be informed of the name, rank, and unit or command of the officer in charge of the investigation, the interrogators, and all persons present during any interrogation.

(5)  Interrogation sessions shall be of reasonable duration and the firefighter shall be permitted reasonable periods for rest and personal necessities.

(6)  The firefighter being interrogated shall not be subjected to offensive language or offered any incentive as an inducement to answer any questions.

(7)  A complete record of any interrogation shall be made, and if a transcript of such interrogation is made, the firefighter under investigation shall be entitled to a copy without charge. Such record may be electronically recorded.

(8)  An employee or officer of an employing agency may represent the agency, and an employee organization may represent any member of a bargaining unit desiring such representation in any proceeding to which this part applies. If a collective bargaining agreement provides for the presence of a representative of the collective bargaining unit during investigations or interrogations, such representative shall be allowed to be present.

(9)  No firefighter shall be discharged, disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority, transferred, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined or discriminated against in regard to his or her employment, or be threatened with any such treatment as retaliation for or by reason solely of his or her exercise of any of the rights granted or protected by this part.


Weingarten Rights
Sep 06, 2009

Weingarten Rights

EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO UNION REPRESENTATION

The rights of unionized employees to have present a union representative during investigatory interviews were announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1975 case (NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251, 88 LRRM 2689). These rights have become known as the Weingarten rights.

Employees have Weingarten rights only during investigatory interviews. An investigatory interview occurs when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct.

If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from what he or she says, the employee has the right to request union representation. Management is not required to inform the employee of his/her Weingarten rights; it is the employees responsibility to know and request.

When the employee makes the request for a union representative to be present management has three options:
(I) it can stop questioning until the representative arrives.
(2) it can call off the interview or,
(3) it can tell the employee that it will call off the interview unless the employee voluntarily gives up his/her rights to a union representative (an option the emplovee should always refuse.)

Employers will often assert that the only role of a union representative in an investigatory interview is to observe the discussion. The Supreme Court, however, clearly acknowledges a representative's right to assist and counsel workers during the interview.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that during an investigatory interview management must inform the union representative of the subject of the interrogation. The representative must also be allowed to speak privately with the employee before the interview. During the questioning, the representative can interrupt to clarify a question or to object to confusing or intimidating tactics.

While the interview is in progress the representative can not tell the employee what to say but he may advise them on how to answer a question. At the end of the interview the union representative can add information to support the employee's case.


Garrity Rights
Sep 06, 2009

 

Garrity Rights

FIFTH AMENDMENT APPLIES TO INTERROGATIONS OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES
(“GARRITY RIGHTS”)

 

    Public employees have certain constitutional rights that apply in their employment that may not apply to private employees. For example, in Garrity v. New Jersey, the Supreme Court held that statements obtained in the course of an investigatory interview under threat of termination from public employment couldn’t be used as evidence against the employee in subsequent criminal proceedings. If, however, you refuse to answer questions after you have been assured that your statements cannot be used against you in a subsequent criminal proceeding, the refusal to answer questions thereafter may lead to the imposition of discipline for insubordination. Further, while the statements you make may not be used against you in a subsequent criminal proceeding, they can still form the basis for discipline on the underlying work-related charge.
   

To ensure that your Garrity rights are protected, you should ask the following questions:

 

1) If I refuse to talk, can I be disciplined for the refusal?
2) Can that discipline include termination from employment?
3) Are my answers for internal and administrative purposes only and are not to be used for criminal prosecution?

 

If you are asked to provide a written statement regarding the subject of the interview, the following statement should be included in your report:

 

“It is my understanding that this report is made for internal administrative purposes only. This report is made by me after being ordered to do so by my supervisor. It is my understanding that refusing to provide this report could result in my being disciplined for insubordination up to and including termination of employment. This report is made pursuant to that order and the potential discipline that could result for failing to provide this report.”

 

 

 

 

 


Loudermill Rights
Sep 06, 2009

 

Loudermill Rights

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO A PRETERMINATION HEARING
(“LOUDERMILL RIGHTS”)

 

In another decision announcing a Constitutional right for public employees not possessed by private employees, the Supreme Court in Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill held that most public employees are entitled to a hearing before they are discharged. However, the “hearing” is not a full evidentiary hearing and need not include the opportunity to cross-examine your accusers. All that is required is:
      1. Oral or written notice of the charges and time for hearing;
      2. An explanation of the employee’s evidence; and
      3. An opportunity to present “his side of the story.”
Further, since the issuance of the Loudermill decision, the lower courts have strictly limited the remedy for Loudermill violations. Specifically, an employee deprived of his Loudermill rights is not entitled to reinstatement if the employer can prove that there was just cause for the discharge in any case.




Page Last Updated: Sep 06, 2009 (19:11:00)
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