California Public Employee Relations...since 1969
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley

California's number one resource for employer/employee relations

Support CPER

Quick Links to Order

Join the Mailing List

Get updates on the law and info on new pocket guide releases!

Pocket Guide to the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act

By J. Scott Tiedemann
3rd edition, 2014

$27 each

Order Online
Mail-In Order Form PDF

Firefighters have a resource comparable to CPER's bestselling Pocket Guide to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, known statewide as the definitive guide to peace officers' rights and protections. The guide is a must for individual firefighters and for all those involved in internal affairs and discipline.

The FBOR guide provides:

  • an overview of the requirements of the Act;
  • the text of the Act, as well as pertinent provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act;
  • a catalog of major court decisions, including those PSOPBRA decisions likely to be important in deciding issues under the FBOR;
  • a table of cases and glossary of terms.

The FBOR is largely modeled on the PSOPBRA, which has protected peace officers for over 30 years. Thus, there is an existing body of case law and practical experience that may be called on when implementing the new law. This booklet cites cases decided under the PSOPBRA that are likely to influence how the courts interpret the FBOR. There are some significant differences between the two laws that warrant careful attention. Those differences are highlighted.

The Guide is designed for firefighters of all ranks and for their employee organizations and employers in the State of California, and any city, county, municipal corporation, public district, or public authority that provides firefighting, police, ambulance, medical, or other emergency services.

Author J. Scott Tiedemann is a partner with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore. LCW has decades of experience representing and counseling public safety agencies in personnel matters, and its attorneys are experts in all issues involving the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act. The Guide was also reviewed by attorney Christopher Platten, a partner with Wylie, McBride, Platten & Renner in San Jose. Platten has been representing the International Association of Fire Fighters locals for over 20 years.


I. Introduction1
II. Coverage of the Act3
    A. Employers Covered3
    B. Employees Covered4
    C. Extent of Coverage5
        1. Events and circumstances involving the 'performance of official duties.'5
        2. Investigations by licensing and certifying agencies. 6
III. Disciplinary Investigations 7
    A. Starting an Investigation 7
    B. The Interrogation 7
        1. Distinguishing between interrogations and other supervisory contacts. 8
            a. City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Labio) 8
            b. Steinert v. City of Covina. 9
        2. Procedural requirements for interrogations. 10
            a. Time of the interrogation 10
            b. Pre-interrogation admonitions 11
            c. Length of the interrogation. 11
            d. Threats/inducements prohibited11
            e. Recording the interrogation. 12
            f. The right to representation. 12
        3. Special requirements when criminal charges are possible 12
            a. Advisement of constitutional rights 13
            b. Immunity 13
    C. Disclosure of Investigation Materials 14
        1. Pre-interrogation 14
        2. Post-interrogation 14
    D. Reassignment 15
    E. Privacy 16
        1. Workplace searches 16
        2. Financial disclosure 16
        3. Lie detector tests16
        4. Media 17
IV. Discipline 18
    A. The Statute of Limitations 18
        1. Disciplinary notices 20
V. Administrative Appeals 22
    A. Entitlement to an Administrative Appeal 22
    B. Scope of the Appeal Hearing 24
        1. Informal hearing procedure 25
        2. Formal hearing procedure. 26
            a. The Accusation 26
            b. Statement to Respondent 27
            c. Service of the Accusation and Statement to Respondent 28
            d. Notice of Defense 28
            e. Amended or Supplemental Accusation 29
VI. Personnel Files 30
    A. Adverse Comments 30
    B. Right to Review Personnel Records 31
    C. Requests to Correct 'Inaccurate Information' 32
VII. Remedies 33
VIII. Statutes 34
    A. The Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act 34
    B. The Administrative Procedure Act (Chapters 4.5 and 5) 45
IX. Major Court Decisions 77
    A. Coverage of the Act 78
    B. Interrogation Rights 78
    C. Preemption and Local Rules 79
    D. Punitive Action, Appeal Rights: Pay Loss
(Including Reduction While on Probation)
    E. Punitive Action, Appeal Rights: Personnel Documents 80
    F. Punitive Action, Appeal Rights: Transfer 81
    G. Punitive Action, Appeal Rights: Appeal Format 81
    H. Adverse Comments: Right to Respond 82
X. Glossary of Terms 83
XI. Table of Cases 87
XII. Index 94