2018 California Code
Labor Code - LAB
CHAPTER 4 - Firefighters
Section 1964.

Universal Citation: CA Labor Code § 1964 (2018)

(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 fire department.

(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 recommendations.

(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 position.

(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.

(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 499, Sec. 1.)

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