Text: S.1025 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (05/12/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1025


To prohibit termination of employment of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel responding to emergencies or major disasters, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 12, 2009

Mr. Carper (for himself and Ms. Collins) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To prohibit termination of employment of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel responding to emergencies or major disasters, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Personnel Job Protection Act”.

SEC. 2. Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Personnel Job Protection.

Title VII of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5201 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“SEC. 707. Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Personnel Job Protection.

“(a) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) QUALIFIED VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT.—The term ‘qualified volunteer fire department’ has the meaning given such term in section 150(e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

“(2) VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES.—The term ‘volunteer emergency medical services’ means emergency medical services performed on a voluntary basis for a fire department or other emergency organization.

“(3) VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER.—The term ‘volunteer firefighter’ means an individual who is a member in good standing of a qualified volunteer fire department.

“(b) Termination of employment of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel prohibited.—

“(1) TERMINATION PROHIBITED.—No employee may be terminated, demoted, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment because such employee is absent from or late to the employee's employment for the purpose of serving as a volunteer firefighter or providing volunteer emergency medical services as part of a response to an emergency or major disaster.

“(2) DEPLOYMENT.—The prohibition in paragraph (1) shall apply to an employee serving as a volunteer firefighter or providing volunteer emergency medical services if such employee—

“(A) is specifically deployed to respond to the emergency or major disaster in accordance with a coordinated national deployment system such as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact or a pre-existing mutual aid agreement; or

“(B) is a volunteer firefighter who—

“(i) is a member of a qualified volunteer fire department that is located in the State in which the emergency or major disaster occurred;

“(ii) is not a member of a qualified fire department that has a mutual aid agreement with a community affected by such emergency or major disaster; and

“(iii) has been deployed by the emergency management agency of such State to respond to such emergency or major disaster.

“(3) LIMITATIONS.—The prohibition in paragraph (1) shall not apply to an employee who—

“(A) is absent from the employee’s employment for the purpose described in paragraph (1) for more than 14 days per calendar year;

“(B) responds on the emergency or major disaster without being officially deployed as described in paragraph (2); or

“(C) fails to provide the written verification described in paragraph (5) within a reasonable period of time.

“(4) WITHHOLDING OF PAY.—An employer may reduce an employee’s regular pay for any time that the employee is absent from the employee's employment for the purpose described in paragraph (1).

“(5) VERIFICATION.—An employer may require an employee to provide a written verification from the official of the Federal Emergency Management Agency supervising the Federal response to the emergency or major disaster or a local or State official managing the local or State response to the emergency or major disaster that states—

“(A) the employee responded to the emergency or major disaster in an official capacity; and

“(B) the schedule and dates of the employee's participation in such response.

“(6) REASONABLE NOTICE REQUIRED.—An employee who may be absent from or late to the employee’s employment for the purpose described in paragraph (1) shall—

“(A) make a reasonable effort to notify the employee’s employer of such absence; and

“(B) continue to provide reasonable notifications over the course of such absence.

“(c) Right of Action.—

“(1) RIGHT OF ACTION.—An individual who has been terminated, demoted, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment in violation of the prohibition described in subsection (b) may bring, in a district court of the United States of appropriate jurisdiction, a civil action against individual's employer seeking—

“(A) reinstatement of the individual’s former employment;

“(B) payment of back wages;

“(C) reinstatement of fringe benefits; and

“(D) if the employment granted seniority rights, reinstatement of seniority rights.

“(2) LIMITATION.—The individual shall commence a civil action under this subsection not later than 1 year after the date of the violation of the prohibition described in subsection (b).”.

SEC. 3. Study and report.

(a) Study.—The Secretary of Labor shall conduct a study on the impact that this Act could have on the employers of volunteer firefighters or individuals who provide volunteer emergency medical services and who may be called on to respond to an emergency or major disaster.

(b) Report.—Not later than 12 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Labor shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the study conducted under subsection (a).

(c) Appropriate congressional committees.—In this section, the term “appropriate congressional committees” means the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives.