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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37830
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Can a volunteer of a public agency ( example Volunteer at

Resolved Question:

Can a volunteer of a public agency ( example: Volunteer at a city animal shelter ) be fired without a hearing or opportunity to present their side of the issue?
Many volunteers have been fired for speaking up about cruelty or incompetance by an employee that results in the inury or death of an animal. Does a volunteer have any rights? Can they be muzzled by law?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

If you believe that your employer has committed a criminal act, then you can report that act to law enforcement and you are protected from termination of employment.

Merely complaining to the employer is generally insufficient -- though in your case, if by city animal shelter, you mean "animal control," i.e., the law enforcement agency charged with the protection of the public safety with regard to animal regulation in your municipality, then a complaint to the shelter would in fact be a complaint to law enforcement.

You may want to consider bringing a formal complaint, so that there is a public record.

Note: Of course, we all know that despite there being laws protecting employees from sanction for reporting the bad acts of their employer, employers have ways to harass "difficult employees." So, don't think that just because the law may protect you, that you may not have to fight to protect yourself -- because you almost certainly will.

I'm not suggesting for an instant that you not complain -- just that I don't want you coming back here with your hair on fire, if things don't go smoothly.

Hope this helps.

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