Chapter 4. Firefighters of California Labor Code >> Division 2. >> Part 7. >> Chapter 4.
Neither the State nor any county, political subdivision,
incorporated city, town, nor any other municipal corporation shall
prohibit, deny or obstruct the right of firefighters to join any bona
fide labor organization of their own choice.
As used in this chapter, the term "employees" means the
employees of the fire departments and fire services of the State,
counties, cities, cities and counties, districts, and other political
subdivisions of the State.
Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form,
join, or assist labor organizations, to present grievances and
recommendations regarding wages, salaries, hours, and working
conditions to the governing body, and to discuss the same with such
governing body, through such an organization, but shall not have the
right to strike, or to recognize a picket line of a labor
organization while in the course of the performance of their official
The enactment of this chapter shall not be construed as
making the provisions of Section 923 of this code applicable to
(a) The governing body of any regularly organized volunteer
fire department may, but shall not be required to, adopt regulations
governing the removal of volunteer firefighters from the volunteer
(b) In the event that the governing body chooses to adopt these
regulations, it shall have the discretion, after soliciting comments
from the membership of the volunteer fire department, to adopt any
reasonable regulations which may, but need not, include some or all
of the following elements, in addition to other provisions:
(1) Members of the department shall not be removed from
membership, except for incompetence, misconduct, or failure to comply
with the rules and regulations of the department. Removals, except
for absenteeism at fires or meetings, shall be made only after a
hearing with due notice, with stated charges, and with the right of
the member to a review.
(2) The charges shall be in writing and may be made by the
governing body. The burden of proving incompetency or misconduct
shall be on the person alleging it.
(3) Hearings on the charges shall be held by the officer or body
having the power to remove the person, or by a deputy or employee of
the officer or body designated in writing for that purpose.
In case a deputy or other employee is so designated, he or she
shall for the purpose of the hearing be vested with all the powers of
the officer or body, and shall make a record of the hearing which
shall be referred to the officer or body for review with his or her
(4) The notice of the hearing shall specify the time and place of
the hearing and state the body or person before whom the hearing will
be held. Notice and a copy of the charges shall be served personally
upon the accused member at least 10 days but not more than 30 days
before the date of the hearing.
(5) A stenographer may be employed for the purpose of taking
testimony at the hearing.
(6) The officer or body having the power to remove the person may
suspend the person after charges are filed and pending disposition of
the charges, and after the hearing may remove the person or may
suspend him or her for a period of time not to exceed one year.
(7) Volunteer firefighters shall serve a probationary period of a
length to be specified by the governing board, not to exceed one
year. A probationary volunteer firefighter may be removed from
membership without specification of cause. The decision to remove a
probationer shall not require notice or a hearing.
(c) The requirement of subdivision (b) to solicit comments from
the membership shall not be deemed to create a duty to meet and
confer with the membership.
(d) In the event that a governing body of a regularly organized
volunteer fire department adopts regulations governing removal of
volunteer firefighters, the regulations shall not be interpreted as
creating a property right in the volunteer firefighter job or
(e) When regulations have been adopted, and where the regulations
provide for a hearing and decision by the governing body, a volunteer
firefighter may commence a proceeding in accordance with the
provisions of Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure to set
aside the decision of the governing body on the ground that the
decision is not supported by substantial evidence. The court shall
not employ its independent judgment in reviewing the evidence. The
proceeding shall be commenced within 90 days from the date that the
governing body renders its decision. This remedy shall be the
exclusive method for review of the governing body's decision.