Section 177B. No employer shall discharge or take any other disciplinary action against any employee by reason of failure of such employee to report for work at the commencement of his regular working hours where such failure is due to his responding to an emergency in his capacity as a volunteer member of a fire department or ambulance department; provided, however, that no such employer shall be required to compensate any such employee for any period of his normal working hours during which for such reason he fails to report for work and at the request of an employer shall submit a statement signed by the chief of such fire department or ambulance department certifying the date and time such employee responded to and returned from such emergency. Such employee shall inform his employer or immediate supervisor of the reasons for such failure.
As used in this section, “responding to an emergency” shall mean responding to, working at the scene of or returning from a fire, rescue, emergency medical service call, hazardous materials incident or a natural or man-made disaster in the good faith belief that the action is necessary to prevent the imminent loss of life or property, where the emergency occurs during a period other than normal working hours of the employee. As used in this section, “volunteer member” shall mean a volunteer, call, reserve, or permanent-intermittent firefighter or emergency medical technician, but shall not include any person who received compensation for over nine hundred and seventy-five hours of services rendered in such capacity over the preceding six month period.
Any employee who is terminated or against whom any disciplinary action is taken in violation of the provisions of this section shall be immediately reinstated to his former position without reduction of pay, seniority or other benefits, and shall receive any lost pay or other benefits during any period for which such termination or other disciplinary action was in effect. An action to enforce the provisions of this section shall be commenced within one year of the date of the alleged violation, in the superior court within any county wherein the action occurred or wherein the employer resides or transacts business.