(a) It shall be unlawful for any employing department or licensing or certifying agency to deny or refuse to any firefighter the rights and protections guaranteed by this chapter.
(b) The superior court shall have initial jurisdiction over any proceeding brought by any firefighter against any employing department or licensing or certifying agency for alleged violations of this chapter.
(c) (1) If the superior court finds that the employing department or licensing or certifying agency has violated any of the provisions of this chapter, the court shall render appropriate injunctive or other extraordinary relief to remedy the violation and to prevent future violations of a like or similar nature, including, but not limited to, the granting of a temporary restraining order or preliminary or permanent injunction prohibiting the employing department or licensing or certifying agency from taking any punitive action against the firefighter.
(2) If the court finds that a bad faith or frivolous action or a filing for an improper purpose has been brought pursuant to this chapter, the court may order sanctions against the party filing the action, the party’s attorney, or both, pursuant to Sections 128.6 and 128.7 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Those sanctions may include, but not be limited to, reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by a fire department as the court deems appropriate. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to subject actions or filings under this section to rules or standards that are different from those applicable to other civil actions or filings subject to Section 128.6 or 128.7 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(d) In addition to the extraordinary relief afforded by this chapter, upon a finding by a superior court that a fire department, its employees, agents, or assigns, with respect to acts taken within the scope of employment, maliciously violated any provision of this chapter with the intent to injure the firefighter, the fire department shall, for each and every violation, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) to be awarded to the firefighter whose right or protection was denied and for reasonable attorney’s fees as may be determined by the court. If the court so finds, and there is sufficient evidence to establish actual damages suffered by the firefighter whose right or protection was denied, the fire department shall also be liable for the amount of the actual damages. Notwithstanding these provisions, a fire department may not be required to indemnify a contractor for the contractor’s liability pursuant to this subdivision if there is, within the contract between the fire department and the contractor, a “hold harmless” or similar provision that protects the fire department from liability for the actions of the contractor. An individual shall not be liable for any act for which a fire department is liable under this section.
(Added by Stats. 2007, Ch. 591, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2008.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018