What if you lost your job because you tried to save someone's life? Many Indiana residents cannot imagine such a thing. That was an unfortunate reality for a beach lifeguard who was fired for leaving his "zone." Wrongful termination of employment may have been the case for this man who was simply trying to do what he was trained to do.
Sources say that emergency situations might be viewed by employers as a special circumstance outside of a routine work day. However, it seems that this would be highly anticipated in rescue-type positions, such as lifeguard, EMT and security officer.
In this particular story, the lifeguard left his post and went outside the protection area designated when he heard that someone needed help. He acted upon the instincts for which he was trained and went to help.
It was after this incident that he was terminated from his position. A number of lifeguards who were employed by the same company have either voluntarily quit or were also fired for not agreeing with company policy in terms of such an emergency situation. The lifeguard in question has since been offered his old position back by the company, but he has turned it down. It appears that seemingly hasty decisions to fire employees can create bad press for the company involved.
The city is investigating this potential incident of wrongful termination. Employees may want to be wary of all employee rights and policies and procedures before accepting a position. Understanding what is expected in times of crises may also be beneficial, as it is likely different with every employer. Helping a fellow human faced with a life or death situation is what many would consider the right and moral thing to do--regardless of what "zone" that person is in. When wrongful termination does occur, it is important for employees to know their rights and consider seeking help so they can get their lives back on track.
Source: NBCMiami.com, "Hallandale Beach Lifeguard Fired For Leaving His Zone To Rescue Drowning Man," Gilma Avalos and Ari Odzer, July 5, 2012