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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Volunteer firefighter axed from dayjob after emergency call made him late

Christoph Trappe reports on Online in Eastern Iowa that Heath Omar, an employee at Clipper Windpower and volunteer Hiawatha firefighter, was discharged in November after he came in late for his job as a hub assembler for Clipper.

Only thing is, he was on an emergency call, and “his employer understood the claimant could not drive an emergency vehicle and talk to the employer on his cellular telephone to report his absence,” according to an Iowa Unemployment Insurance Appeals Decision announced Wednesday.

An administrative law judge found in Omar’s favor.

Trappe is an excellent former Gazette reporter who left for greener pastures long before the recent shakeup.

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Filed under: Public Safety, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Ben Rogers says:

    I am a volunteer fire fighter with the Mount Vernon Fire Department. It is unfortunate this volunteer was released from his job for being late after responding to an emergency. Volunteer fire fighter, EMT and first responders should be complimented on their service to their community, not punished for it. The volunteer was in compliance with the companies policy on being on an emergency call during off work hours that extends into work hours. The issue was he was not able to communicate his absense. I have been on many emergency calls where I could not make a phone call because of the nature of the accident, fire or medical emergency. Its hard to make a phone call when you are providing medical assistance or in a burning structure.

    Many of my fellow fire fighters on MVFD have an understanding with their employer that if a page comes in they can leave work to fulfill this civic duty. One of our members owns an auto parts shop and actually closes the shop so he can respond. Being late by one hour during off work hours that extended into work hours seems excessive for termination. The companies policy allows an individual this right to be on a call that extends into work hours from off work hours.

    Adam, if he was late in November, why is this being reported on in May?

    Ben Rogers

  2. […] has no impact on Heath Omar’s dilemma, but it may prevent anyone else getting fired the way he […]

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