California public safety officers have had their own procedural bill of rights for the last three decades, so it is only fair that California firefighters should also have a procedural bill of rights (as many other states have also enacted). The Firefighter’s Procedural Bill of Rights Act (FBOR) became effective January 1, 2008; thus, case law has not had sufficient time to develop concerning this statute (California Government Code Sections 3250 through 3262). However, since FBOR was patterned after the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBR), the various rights will probably be given the same meaning by the courts.
Under FOBR, a "firefighter" means any firefighter employed by a public agency, including, but not limited to, any firefighter who is a paramedic or emergency medical technician, irrespective of rank, but does not include probationary employees or inmates performing firefighting duties.
When any firefighter is under investigation that could lead to “punitive action,” and the firefighter is subjected to interrogation by his or her commanding officer, or subjected to an investigative interview by you (if you are so designated by the Fire Department retaining you), FOBR applies. "Punitive action" means any action that may lead to dismissal, demotion, suspension, reduction in salary, written reprimand, or transfer for purposes of punishment.
FOBR contains many requirements, and any investigator conducting such an investigation (internal employee or outside investigator) should stay abreast of the technical requirements of these statutes and the developing case law in this area.