SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. - A volunteer firefighter in Igo is suing his former employer after he said he was fired for taking time off to fight the Carr Fire.
In the lawsuit, John Allen claims he was unjustly fired from his day job because he missed too much time from work.
Allen has worked as a volunteer firefighter in Igo for about eight years.
During the day, he installed Dish Network satellite dishes for a company called Linkus Enterprises based out of Fresno.
But he was fired after returning from the Carr Fire.
His company said it's because he was wasn't meeting company standards, but Allen suspects he was being retaliated against for missing too much time from work.
“We are covered under the California labor code which protects us much like a military personnel where we can't be retaliated against, discriminated against,” Allen said. “You can't take our job from us because we're doing our duty serving our community.”
According to California labor code 230.3(a):
“An employer shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate against an employee for taking time off to perform emergency duty as a volunteer firefighter, a reserve peace officer, or emergency rescue personnel.”
It also states that any employees suspended or discharged is entitled to reinstatement and lost wages if the employer is found to be in violation of the law.
But this isn't the first time he's had a conflict with his employer about his firefighting duties.
Allen says during the La Verne fire, he was fired then quickly reinstated after a Facebook post about his firing quickly went viral.
“My next working day back, I was called into the office and told you need to decide if you're a volunteer firefighter or if you're an employee of Linkus,” Allen said.
Allen says this shouldn't happen to anyone who's trying to serve their community, and more than anything he just wants an apology and to make sure what happened to him doesn't happen to anyone else.
“You know, life and property are more important than the job that I was doing at the time with Linkus,” Allen said. “And I love Linkus, I love what I did. I like meeting new people, but this is more important.”
We left voicemails for Allen's former supervisor Matt Baver who was mentioned in the lawsuit as well as the Linkus HR department in Fresno, but neither returned our calls.