California

Ambulance Company Has Novel Idea of Volunteering

California company requires employees to volunteer for selected non-profits on their own time.

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WESTMINSTER – The Boys and Girls Club loves Shoreline Ambulance Service. So does Abrazar Inc., a community center for lower-income residents. And so do some Vietnamese groups.

Their representatives extolled the ambulance company as a great community partner at a City Council meeting last March – one of the main reasons council members cited for granting the company another three-year contract, against the recommendation of city, police and fire officials.

Shoreline employees volunteer at these organizations – a lot. Maybe some want to volunteer. But whether they want to or not, that's what they have been required to do if they want to keep their jobs in Westminster and not be transferred to less desirable assignments.

In letters to Shoreline President Giovanni Chiarella, city officials last month questioned whether the policy is legal. The council doesn't support it, wrote Christian Bettenhausen, assistant city attorney. "In fact, we strongly discourage it," he said.