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Called to Action: Alabama Provides Job Protections for Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders

As catastrophic hurricanes threaten the southeastern region, Alabama employers may want to reflect on the state’s emergency response statute.

Alabama law provides job protection for employees who also serve as volunteer firefighters or volunteer emergency worker service providers. If a member of a volunteer fire department or an emergency service provider misses time from work because he or she is called to respond to an emergency, an Alabama employer cannot discharge the employee because of resulting missed time from work. An “emergency” is defined to include going to, attending to, or coming from: (a) a fire call; (b) a hazardous or toxic materials spill and cleanup; (c) any other situation to which a volunteer fire department has been dispatched; or (d) an actual medical emergency to prevent the imminent loss of life.

Employees must attempt to contact their employers before emergency dispatch if possible, and an employer may request that the employee provide a note from the chief of the volunteer emergency service confirming the employee’s involvement at the time and date in question. Time lost due to emergency service may be charged against the employee’s regular compensation. Willful violation by an employer will result in the employee’s reinstatement and repayment of all lost wages and benefits.


© 2019, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.


About this Author

Josh Harrison, Ogletree Deakins, Lawyer, wage and hour compliance issues attorney, Birmingham, Alabama

Josh represents employers in all aspects of employment and labor law.  As a litigator, Josh is well-versed in virtually every aspect of employment litigation. From handling bench and jury trials to arguing before the Federal Courts of Appeals, he has an accomplished litigation track record spanning jurisdictions across the country.  Josh has obtained summary judgment for clients in federal employment lawsuits in a number of jurisdictions, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Josh has successfully handled appeals before the United...