Imagine responding to an emergency in your community as a member of a civic-minded aviation organization—and facing employer recriminations for being absent from work.
Disciplining, discharging, or discriminating against an employee who responds to a “declared emergency” would be prohibited under legislation making its way through the Michigan legislature, with AOPA’s support.
House Bill 4537 is an effort introduced by Rep. Andrea LaFontaine (R-District 32) and spearheaded by the Civil Air Patrol to ensure that its members who provide support during a declared emergency may do so without fear of reprisal.
The bill has cleared the Michigan House and is under consideration in the state Senate, where AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Bryan Budds testified in support at a March 16 hearing held by the Senate Commerce Committee.
There was no opposing testimony, and the committee unanimously recommended that the bill pass.
The provisions would apply to absences during an emergency “declared by the governor or the President of the United States.”
The employee would be required to provide as much notice as possible to the employer. The employer would not be barred from treating the employee’s time away from work as unpaid time off. An employee or former employee would have the right to bring a civil action to enforce the bill’s protections.
For 75 years the Civil Air Patrol has served as the all-volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Its activities include participating in many search-and-rescue operations.
“AOPA is proud to support the mission and members of the Civil Air Patrol in Michigan,” Budds said. “It truly is unfortunate that a Civil Air Patrol volunteer could be disciplined for volunteering to serve his state or country during a national emergency. House Bill 4537 would prevent such a situation—and rightly so.”