The Firehouse Lawyer Newsletter

Results for newsletters with the topic “Safety

Today we address free speech considerations in the context of discipline; amendments to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the test to discern whether nepotism in hiring is legal; legislative amendments to the death benefits laws; LEOFF II employees being able to sue employers; employees not having a cause of action for “wrongful transfer in violation of public policy”; and to sum it up, we discuss physical fitness standards for firefighters. 01-0219975v01n02may1997.pdf
Today we take note of an extremely importance case clarifying management rights; take further notice that the Committee on Fire Service Organization and Deployment of the NFPA recently abandoned an attempt to adopt minimum national fire response standards; a FLSA update clarifying issues with comp time and the “salary basis” test; unemployment compensation and serious misconduct; and then we address the ability of fire commissioners to decrease the number of commissioners on the board. 01-0519978v01n05aug1997.pdf
Today we discuss a new respiratory protection standard handed down by OSHA; Congress’ enactment of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, aka HIPAA; distinctions between hourly and salary-based employees under FLSA; and finally, very important considerations of excessive absenteeism under the FMLA. 02-0119981v02n01jan1998.pdf
Here we take a look at the firefighter’s rule, which essentially says that a firefighter is generally owed no duty of care by the owner of land except that the owner not willfully or wantonly cause injury to the fireman; then we clarify some issues with the “two-in two-out” rule under the WAC 296-305 safety standards; issues with records retention; whether RCW 39.34 may permit several fire districts and a city to share in some major function, i.e. communications, and to have some separate level of taxing revenue; and to round it out, we address a question about building signs and the ADA. 02-0319983v02n03mar1998.pdf
Today we discuss an all-important topic in the fire service: the proper formulating and implementing policies; we then consider some NFPA regulations related to hazardous areas and control of the fire-ground; finally, we answer a question about incident command from down under…Australia! 02-0519985v02n05may1998.pdf
The laws for how to dispose of real and personal property arise often in the fire service, and today we discuss some of the frequently asked questions relevant to this subject (as a side note, the surplus of personal property is also addressed in the October 2015 issue, which is contained under the “Surplus of Real Property: RCW 39.33.020” topic); we then turn to differentiating between independent contractors and employees, an important factor in determining potential liabilities and tax implications; and to conclude, we answer a tricky question about the “two-in two-out” rule. 02-0919989v02n09sep1998.pdf
We now discuss a decision of the Public Employment Relations Commission, of which the Firehouse Lawyer is a former commissioner, involving the duty to bargain supplemental pensions; the 90-day statute of limitations for vacation of arbitration awards; handicap discrimination and the duty to accommodate disabilities; the preemption of state law by FLSA; the requirement under the FMLA that the employer give notice of a requirement for medical certification; the 296-305 requirements for Washington fire departments in live-structure firefighting. 02-11199811v02n11nov1998.pdf
Today the Firehouse Lawyer revisits various provisions of the FLSA, including the 207 (k) exemption; we then address some FMLA cases of importance; some definitional changes in RCW 296-305; and a question regarding bona fide occupational qualifications under the ADA. 03-0219992v03n02feb1999.pdf
Here we discuss a US Supreme Court case involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the relative rights and powers of employers and employees pertaining to the use of compensatory time; whether fire districts are free under the law to change their names to whatever the fire commissioners decide; the issue of securing an emergency scene to ensure highway safety without subjecting your fire department to liability for negligence; we also remind our readers that the FMLA only applies to private and public employers having 50 or more employees; and finally we talk about RCW 46.44, which contains a law involving the weight limits applicable to fire engines. 04-0520005v04n05may2000.pdf
This issue discusses important new legislation on response times, the “two-in two-out” rule; and various legislative changes to the PRA and OPMA, and other laws. 05-0320053v05n03mar2005.pdf
The law of recall in Washington is extensive, and now we consider the definitions of “misfeasance” and “malfeasance”; the importance of adopting cell phone use policies to avoid liability; we then outline the six- part test under RCW 51.08.195 to determine whether a person is an independent contractor; and then consider policies to prevent workplace violence. 05-0420054v05n04apr2005.pdf
The issue of random drug testing is a contentious one, and today we analyze whether such testing is constitutional or not; we turn next to analyze an exception to the general rule that public funds should not ordinarily be used to support a ballot measure or a candidacy; and finally, we look at various legislative changes, including an increase in volunteer firefighter disability payments; protection from prorationing; response times; overbroad records requests; special meeting notices; and disability coverage and payments for LEOFF 2 firefighters. 05-0520055v05n05may2005.pdf
This issue discusses the importance of policies on recreational marijuana use, as it pertains to liability for negligence; we also discuss how overtime is calculated under FLSA in the event shifts are traded or employees substitute for one another; and finally, we consider a recent Washington Supreme Court case that has solidified the definition of "respiratory disease," as that pertains to injured firefighters. 13-11201511November2015FINAL.pdf
Today we consider whether an ALS assessment alone is sufficient to qualify an EMS provider for Medicaid reimbursement at the ALS level; we also discuss a court case addressing a defense to WISHA citations, for "unpreventable employee misconduct." 14-0620168June2016FINAL.pdf
This month, the Firehouse Lawyer sheds light on changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act, with respect to the "white collar" exemptions; changes to the post-incident investigation procedures of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act; notice to third parties of public records requests, and when that notice should be given and when not; a new electronic records law that affirmatively requires local agencies in Washington to adopt policies on electronic records; a court case involving standing to sue under the Open Public Meetings Act; and finally, we discuss our involvement in an important Washington Supreme Court case. 14-8E20168August2016.pdf
In this issue, the Firehouse Lawyer addresses recent case law arising under the Public Records and Open Public Meetings Acts; recent EEOC insights into inquires into disabilities, and how that relates to conditional offers of employment; and finally, we introduce a new column in honor of Bill Jarmon: Safety Bill. 15-0120171January_2017_FINAL.pdf
This article discusses proposed legislation that may result in the pro-rationing of junior taxing districts' levies across Washington State; an unpublished court opinion discussing whether an email exchange violated the Open Public Meetings Act; the appointment of auditing officers to pay certain claims prior to Board approval; the burdens of proof in "occupational disease" cases for firefighters seeking L&I benefits; finally, we include our monthly Safety Bill column, which enumerates the importance of safety checklists. 15-0220172February2017FINAL.pdf
At times, state agencies get it wrong, and today we discuss that, with respect to the stripping of pensions from elected officials not working in "eligible positions" under DRS regulations; we also discuss RCW 71.05, one of the involuntary detention laws; a sweeping case involving the mandatory reporting duty in cases of child abuse and neglect; the employee's responsibility under the vertical safety standards; and finally, we outline some of the most common issues the State Auditor keeps running into, with respect to fire districts and RFAs. 15-0320173March2017FINAL.pdf
Today we discuss the concept of a "jar of muddy water" when negotiation contracts; we also discuss very important legislative changes for 2017; we then consider an alternative revenue source we call the 450 Tax, which could generate substantial revenue for fire departments; finally, we have our monthly Safety Bill. 15-0420174April2017FINAL.pdf
Contracts for services are an under-utilized alternative to the property tax, and we discuss this today, as it pertains to contracts with housing authorities; we also discuss a new bill impacting Medicaid fraud investigations in Washington State; the doctrine of incompatibility of public offices; our potential new business model; and finally, we have our Safety Bill, discussing deadlines for training under WAC 296-305. 15-0520175May2017FINAL.pdf
Today we consider some significant changes to the Public Records Act, some good and some bad; we also discuss in our SAFETY BILL column and exception to the "two in two out" rule set forth in WAC 296-305. 15-0720177July2017FINAL.pdf
Today we consider special issues pertaining to medical records requests from attorneys and law enforcement; an important case relating to the necessary ballot-title language for levy lid lifts; an unemployment benefits case; and of course, our Safety Bill discusses body armor. 15-0920179September2017FINAL.pdf
Today we discuss why fire departments should seek payments in lieu of taxes via contractual negotiation; a very important case involving gender discrimination and the wrongful discharge of an allegedly "at will" employee; a case involving privacy protections for homeless people; and finally, we consider the proper fitting of self-contained breathing apparatus under the Washington Administrative Code. 15-10201710October2017FINAL5.pdf
2018 begins with a discussion of free speech in public employment; self-reporting de minimis violations of safety rules; websites and "places of public accommodation"; past practices, "joint employers" and employee handbooks on basis standards of civility; we also discussion a Washington court case that sets back firefighters. 16-0120181January2018FINAL.pdf
The Washington Court of Appeals recently decided an important case relating to when posts on a private Facebook page are "public records" subject to disclosure by a public agency; we also inform our readers about the upcoming Municipal Roundtable and remind our readers to keep records on occupational injury and illness. 16-0120182February2018_FINAL.pdf
We now discuss the potential consequences of a change to the Washington Law Against Discrimination which further limits inquiries an employer may make into the criminal record of job applicants; we also consider the applicability of the Washington State Minimum Wage Act to shift firefighters, and the role of incident commanders. 16-0320183March2018FINAL.pdf
Today we consider a legislative change in the definition of "veteran" under the veterans' preference/scoring criteria statute; we also discuss a recent decision by the Washington Supreme Court on child abuse and neglect, and the role of incident commanders. 16-0420184April2018FINAL.pdf
Veterans get various preferences under Washington and federal law, rightfully so. We discuss those preferences herein, and also include our monthly Safety Bill. Happy Memorial Day. 16-0520185May18FINAL.pdf
The Washington State Auditor recently issued guidance on what is called "piggybacking," an exception to the general rule of formal bidding which is used by many of our municipal clients when making purchases; we also discuss the "deliberative process exemption" under the Public Records Act. 16-0820188August2018.pdf
This issue addresses the definition of "veteran" under the Washington veterans' scoring-criteria statutes; we also discuss an important Washington case related to "vigilance-free" meal periods, and give our readers an update on developments in federal discrimination law. 16-0920189September2018FINAL.pdf
The Firehouse Lawyer is introducing a new monthly column: "Labor Concepts," where today we will discuss "double jeopardy" in discipline cases; we also include our Safety Bill and discussion of indefinite disability leave and impact fees, SEPA mitigation and contracts for services. 16-11201811November2018FINAL.pdf
The focus of this article is on whether fire commissioners, or elected officials generally, are subject to the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave Act; we also discuss the importance of insurance coverage. 17-0120191January2019FINAL2.pdf
Today we consider a pair of bills that relate to "no man's lands" and exemptions from double taxation; we also discuss the use of consumer reports in the employment context, whether elected officials are "employees" under the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, and the duties of incident commanders. 17-0220192February2019.pdf
Because the wildfire season is essentially here, we thought it would be appropriate to discuss "abatement" costs and whether certain fire departments may recoup those costs; furthermore, we consider HIPAA, legislative changes pertaining to piggybacking, the "buddy system" under the safety regulations, a case involving the public disclosure rules, off-duty misconduct, and affirmative action. 17-0520195May2019FINAL.pdf
Today we discuss an important Washington Supreme Court case involving the liability of a city for what may have been the intentionally wrongful conduct of a police officer; we also outline annexation issues involving cities, forestland and taxation issues, and some minor linguistic changes to WAC 296-305, the safety standards for firefighters. 17-0620196June2019FINAL.pdf
Today we discuss a Washington Supreme Court case, in which the Court held that obesity is a protected "disability" under the Washington Law Against Discrimination; we also consider the "less than 20%" rule in the context of volunteer firefighting. 17-0720197July2019FINAL.pdf
We consider a variety of issues today including new L&I guidance on mask-wearing, the new long-term care law, session laws pertaining to data-sharing and excessive force, a Public Records Act case involving Youtube, medical records retention, and the Affordable Care Act. 19-0520216MayJune2021FINAL.pdf
Today we consider the liability implications of employing unvaccinated personnel and a case involving the "non-delegation" doctrine. 19-0820219AugustSeptember2021FINAL.pdf
This issue considers new guidance from the Office of Civil Rights on the disclosure of vaccine information, and the applicability of the Loudermill case to terminations based upon the failure of an employee to vaccinate. 19-10202110October2021FINAL.pdf
Today we consider Proclamation 21-14 and the new vaccine mandate for DOH-licensed health care providers in Washington State. 19-8E20218August2021FINAL.pdf
Today we discuss Executive Order 14042 issued by President Joe Biden, which imposes a vaccine mandate on all employees of federal "contractors" as defined under 14042. 19-9E20219September2021ExtraFINAL.pdf
We now consider the implications of the Washington COVID State of Emergency ending October 31, 2022 and issues pertaining to the OPMA and reinstatement issues resulting from that termination. We also discuss piggybacking and a case concerning delegation. 20-10202210October2022FINAL.pdf
Today the newsletter addresses a case involving the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirements; we also discuss a tax-increment financing issue, a new law on the use of cannabis drug-test results in hiring, and some bid-law issues with respect to used equipment and bid quantities.21-0620236June2023FINAL.pdf
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