-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Tomas Lopez, a Hallandale Beach, north of Miami Florida, lifeguard was fired for helping to rescue a swimmer who was 1500 feet outside his company’s contracted zone of responsibility. Alerted to the distressed swimmer, Lopez did what comes naturally to lifeguards, he ran to help.
While Lopez went to help the swimmer, another lifeguard, Szilard Janko, covered Lopez’s zone. Lopez and two other lifeguards were fired over the incident and three other lifeguards quit in protest.
At first the company tried to claim the company could be sued if the rescue had gone wrong:
We have liability issues and [lifeguards] can’t go out of the protected area.
Then the story went viral and the Orlando-area contracting company, Jeff Ellis Management, started backtracking. Jeff Ellis, the head of Jeff Ellis Management, said:
Clearly, he should not have been terminated for what had occurred. I know that he has tried to do the right thing.
I am of the opinion that the supervisors acted hastily.
Lopez has been offered his old job back, at $8.25 an hour, but has refused the offer. The distressed swimmer recovered.