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PA Medic Claims Termination Over Supervisor’s Cursing Is Religious Discrimination

A Pennsylvania paramedic who was terminated last May, has filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging he was fired due to his religion.

Medic Paul Newell claims a supervisor’s use of vulgar language prompted him to file a complaint, which in turn led to his termination from the Lower Valley Ambulance Service.  Newell claims the supervisor’s use of profanities was offensive to his religious beliefs, and the termination was retaliation for his legitimate request for the cursing to stop.

According to the complaint, Newell was told he was fired for “misprioritizing” ambulance runs.  Newell disputes that he made an error in judgment claiming he responded to a patient not breathing call before handling a routine transport that was called in first. He also cites an instance where a medic who made a similar choice was not terminated. The complaint characterizes the “misprioritizating” allegation as  a pretext his termination.

The suit was filed Wednesday in Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Here is a copy of the complaint. Newell v Lower Valley Ambulance

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Francis

    Interesting story, I worked with an EMT who was fresh out of EMT school. In the day we worked together our crew chief dropped the F bomb more times than I can think of. During a lull in the day I was talking with this EMT and used a colorful metaphor in a sentence. This prompted the EMT to stop me and explain that this type of language is offensive to his religious beliefs and to “God”. While I respect his beliefs and used no further expletives, I also understand that in this industry, cussing is just a part of daily activity. However, I do not feel anyone should lose their job simply because they do not like their peers or superiors to cuss. We should all try to respect each others views. Remember we are a team and we need to depend on each other.

    • http://firelawblog.com Curt Varone

      Thanks Francis

      I agree… in the memorable words of Rodney King “Why can’t we all just get along”.

      I my experience, there is usually alot more going on in these cases than what is in the press or in the lawsuit. Sometimes people are difficult to work with or have other issues and it reaches the point where employers are looking for an excuse to get rid of them. On the other hand some places of employment are just plain stifling. They treat employees with contempt and fire people for little or no reason. What we see when the lawyers get involved is that the “provable” accusations come to the forefront. Beneath the surface there’s an entire other set of facts that are more difficult to prove – but may actually be much more relevant to understanding why there is a dispute.

    • Claude

      Just because something is common place or routine in the workplace it does not make it right or acceptable:). We are professionals… I thought. Rule of thumb for me is,if I wouldn’t say or do it in front of my kids I shouldn’t be saying or doing it in the work place. It’s just common sense. And you know what they say about common sense! Just sayin.:)