Attorney Generalís Opinion Received Concerning Police Officerís Bill of Rights- May also apply to Firefighterís Bill of Rights.

 

LOUISIANA REVISED STATUTES
TITLE 33. Municipalities and Parishes
CHAPTER 4. Fire and Police Departments
PART II. Fire Department
SUBPART H. Fire Employee's Rights

 

§ 2012. Fire Service Bill of Rights

A. This Section may be referred to as the "Louisiana Fire Service Bill of Rights".

B. There is hereby established a Fire Service Bill of Rights to promote the rights of members of the fire service in Louisiana and to insure that their rights are safeguarded and protected. This Fire Service Bill of Rights consists of a statement, in nontechnical terms, of the rights of members of the fire service and obligations to them. The rights afforded members of the fire service are available insofar as they are implemented in accordance with the Constitution of Louisiana and Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, the administrative rules of state and local governmental entities, and the budgetary consideration of state and local governmental entities. To this end, this Louisiana Fire Service Bill of Rights is enacted.

C. The Louisiana Fire Service Bill of Rights promotes the following rights for the members of fire service in Louisiana:

(1) Promotes each member of a fire services right to be recognized as first responder to all domestic emergencies.

(2) Promotes each member of a fire services right to be adequately protected from the dangers associated with emergency response.

(3) Promotes the preparation of first responder families so members of the fire service can focus on their mission of responding to domestic emergencies.

(4) Promotes each member of a fire services right to have their families provided for in the event of tragic death related to performance on the job.

(5) Promotes each member of a fire services right to be educated in the latest fire and life safety sciences.

(6) Promotes each member of a fire services right to be provided with state-of- the-art equipment and apparatus to better handle all emergency situations.

(7) Promotes each member of a fire services right to share innovative fire and life safety programs that have proven successful across the nation.

(8) Promotes each member of a fire services right to fully understand and be able to effectively respond to incidents involving the transportation, storage, and use of hazardous materials.

(9) Promotes each member of a fire services right to be fully informed of the threat of contracting infectious diseases during the course of life safety activities.

(10) Promotes each member of a fire services right to expect that the people of Louisiana will become full partners in the struggle to preserve life and property from the ravages of fire and other disasters.

(11) Promotes each member of a fire services right to celebrate the proud history of the American fire and emergency services personnel and the sacrifices they have made for communities across the nation.

Acts 2003, No. 943,§ 1.

 

§ 2181. Applicability, minimum standards during investigation; penalties for failure to comply

A. Unless context otherwise requires, the following terms when used in this Subpart shall be given the meanings assigned below:

(1) "Fire employee" includes any person employed in the fire department of any municipality, parish, or fire protection district maintaining a full-time regularly paid fire department, regardless of the specific duties of such person within the fire department, and who is under investigation with a view to possible disciplinary action, demotion, or dismissal.

(2) “Interrogation” includes but is not limited to any formal interview, inquiry, or questioning of any fire employee by the appointing authority or the appointing authority’s designee regarding misconduct, allegations of misconduct, or policy violation. An initial inquiry conducted by the fire employee’s immediate supervisors shall not be considered an interrogation.

B. Whenever a fire employee is under investigation, the following minimum standards shall apply:

(1) Prior to commencing a formal investigation of a fire employee, the appointing authority shall notify the employee in writing of the nature of the investigation, of the identity and authority of the person conducting such investigation, and of the specific charges or violations being investigated.

(2) The fire employee being investigated shall be informed in writing at the commencement of any interrogation of the nature of the investigation, of the identity and authority of the person conducting such investigation, of the identity of all persons present during such interrogation, and of the specific charges or violations being investigated. The fire employee shall be allowed to make notes.

(3) Any interrogation of a fire employee in connection with an investigation shall be for a reasonable period of time and shall allow for reasonable periods for the rest and personal necessities of such fire employee.

(4) All interrogations of any fire employee in connection with the investigation shall be recorded in full. The fire employee shall not be prohibited from obtaining a copy of the recording or transcript of the recording of his statements, upon submitting a written request to the fire chief.

(5) The fire employee shall be entitled to the presence of his counsel or representative, or both, at any interrogation in connection with the investigation. The fire employee’s representative or counsel shall be allowed to offer advice to the employee and to make statements on the record at any interrogation in the course of the investigation.

(6) The counsel or representative for the fire employee under investigation may call witnesses to testify on the employee's behalf.

(7) No statement made by a fire employee during the course of an administrative investigation shall be admissible in a criminal proceeding.

C. No fire employee shall be disciplined, demoted, dismissed or be subject to any adverse action unless the investigation is conducted in accordance with this Subpart. Any discipline, demotion, dismissal or adverse action of any sort taken against a fire employee without complete compliance with the provisions of this Subpart is an absolute nullity.

Acts 1997, No. 1436,§ 1. Amended by Acts 2007, No. 258, § 1; Acts 2009, No. 328 § 1.


§2182. Release of personal information
No person, agency, or department shall release to the news media, press, or other public information agency a fire employee's home address, photograph, or any information that may be deemed otherwise confidential, without the express written consent of the fire employee, with respect to an investigation of the fire employee.
Acts 1997, No. 1436,§ 1.


§2183. Personnel files
A. No fire employee shall have any comment adverse to his or her interest entered in his or her personnel file or any other file used for any personnel purposes by his employer without the fire employee having first read and signed the instrument containing the adverse comment indicating that he or she is aware of such comment, except that such entry may be made if, after reading such instrument, the fire employee refuses to sign it. Should a fire employee refuse to sign, that fact shall be noted on the document and signed or initialed by such fire employee.

B. A fire employee shall have thirty days within which to file a written response to any adverse comment entered in his or her personnel file. Such written response shall be attached to and shall accompany the adverse comment.
Acts 1997, No. 1436,§ 1.

 

§2184. Disclosure of finances
No fire employee shall be required to disclose for the purpose of promotion or assignment any item of his or her property, income, assets, debts, or expenditures or those of any member of such fire employee's household.
Acts 1997, No. 1436,§ 1.


§2185. Retaliation for exercising rights
There shall be no penalty nor threat of any penalty for the exercise by a fire employee of his or her rights under this Subpart.
Acts 1997, No. 1436,§ 1

 

§2186. Investigations

A.  Any investigation of a fire employee which is conducted pursuant to this Subpart shall be completed within sixty days, including the conducting of any pre-disciplinary hearing or conference. However, in each political subdivision which is governed by R.S. 33:2471 et seq., the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Law or R.S. 33:2531 et seq., the Fire and Police Civil Service Law for Small Municipalities and for Parishes and Fire Protection Districts, the fire department may petition the local governing authority for an extension of the time within which to complete the investigation.

B.  The governing authority shall set the matter for hearing and shall provide notice of the hearing to the fire employee who is under investigation.  The fire employee who is under investigation shall have the right to attend the hearing and to present evidence and arguments against the extension.  If the governing authority finds that the fire department has shown good cause for the granting of an extension of time within which to complete the investigation, it shall grant an extension of up to sixty days.

C.  Nothing contained in this Section shall be construed to prohibit the fire employee under investigation and the appointing authority from entering into a written agreement extending the investigation for up to an additional sixty days.  Nothing in this Section shall limit any investigation of alleged criminal activity.  Further, nothing herein shall affect any investigatory procedures collectively bargained in any jurisdiction.

Acts 2004, No. 262, §1.


 


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Date this page was last updated:  Monday, September 27, 2004 01:51 PM