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

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

Check Also

Wisconsin IAFF Local President Fired Over Social Media Post

The president of a Wisconsin International Association of Firefighters local was terminated last week over a social media post that criticized understaffing over the Memorial Day weekend. Spencer Nett, president of IAFF Local 5026, was terminated by the Dells-Delton EMS Commission on August 4, 2022.

Iowa Firefighter Files Suit Alleging Discrimination

An Iowa City firefighter who has been on unpaid leave since 2021 has filed suit alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation. Sadie McDowell filed suit in Johnson County District Court claiming she has been the victim of offensive behavior for most of her career.