Course Description

For leaders in the fire service, holding agency members accountable for violations of policy is fundamental to ensuring safe operations and protecting the public trust. In some severe cases it is necessary to terminate “bad apples” whose behavior threatens to taint the entire department. 

In other cases, disciplinary action is necessary to hold essentially good employees accountable for misconduct before the conduct issues become habitual. In these cases, making discipline stick is actually in the interest of the employee, as it can serve as a much needed “wake up call” to an employee before performance issues become so serious that termination is required or public safety is threatened.

But when disciplinary actions are taken by leaders in the fire service and later reviewed by an outside source (i.e., grievance arbitrator or civil service board), the discipline is very often overturned or reduced.

In this two-hour webinar, Attorney Matt Dolan will review the findings of a DCG study of hundreds of fire service discipline cases that went to arbitration review.  This research reveals the five most common reasons arbitrators give for overturning a discipline in the fire service. This information is utilized to provide practical steps that leaders can take to ensure fairness in their disciplinary processes and significantly increase the likelihood their disciplinary decisions are upheld.


Director, Dolan Consulting Group

| Attorney Matt Dolan

Matt Dolan is a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, who specializes in training and advising public safety agencies in matters of labor and employment law. His practice experience focuses on employment discrimination claims brought under federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). He received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from DePaul University and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Matt serves as a public safety instructor with Dolan Consulting Group. He has trained and advised thousands of public safety professionals throughout the United States in matters of legal liability related to personnel management.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Before You Start

    • Consent Questions

  • 2


    • Making Discipline Stick® in the Fire Service | Hour 1

    • Making Discipline Stick® in the Fire Service | Hour 2