Discipline of Volunteer and POC Firefighters and EMTs

Article Date: February, 2009

Discipline of Volunteer and POC Firefighters and EMTs, Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts /Fire Call magazine.

By BERNARD WEILER and DEAN FRIEDERS, Partners, Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi & Andersson, P.C., Aurora, IL.

The first decision to be made in the discipline of Volunteer and Paid on Call (POC) Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) is whether any formal process needs to be followed.  Typically, one need only conduct formalized disciplinary hearings where the individual being disciplined: 1) is guaranteed a specified disciplinary process by virtue of department policies or an employment contract; or, 2) has a property interest in continued employment (i.e. is not a purely at-will employee).  Unless your department has adopted some form of contract or operating procedure which entitles your volunteer and POC members to a formal disciplinary process, none is typically required.  And while conducting a disciplinary hearing may provide greater formality to the termination of a member, it will also result in your department incurring greater expense, and potentially incurring greater liability than a simple notification of termination.

The material that follows first explores the criteria which should be used to determine if some form of hearing or process is necessary, and then describes the essential criteria for properly conducting a termination review hearing. ...read the full article here (pdf format).