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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

New bill would have protected axed firefighter

The Iowa Legislature has passed a law that forbids employers from firing employees who are late to work because they are a volunteer emergency responder.

It’s House File 671. According to Section 100B.14:

“If an employee has provided the employee’s public or private employer with written notification that the employee is a volunteer emergency services provider, the employer shall not terminate the employment of a volunteer emergency services provider who, because the employee was fulfilling the employee’s duties as a volunteer emergency services provider, is absent from or late to work.”

This has no impact on Heath Omar’s dilemma, but it may prevent anyone else getting fired the way he was.

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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.

Filed under: Public Safety, , , ,

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