Did Florida Lifeguard Company Expose Itself to a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?

Recently, Tomas Lopez, a Florida lifeguard, was terminated in a public incident in which he left his designated zone to rescue a drowning swimmer at a beach. Other swimmers were able to rescue the distressed man at Hallandale Beach before Lopez reached him, but he was thankful none the less.

In the video you can see Lopez knew he had violated protocol for leaving his assigned area and was terminated immediately, although he does not regret his actions. Jeff Ellis Management, the private contractor that Lopez worked for, has since offered Lopez his job back.

“I am of the opinion that the supervisors acted hastily,” Ellis said tin a released statement. Lopez said he was offered an apology as well as his position back, but he chose to pursue other options.

“It’s not out of spite or anything like that,” Lopez said. “It’s not that I dislike the company. It’s just I’d rather continue on in my life, finish my schooling, and get on with my life. And find another job.”

Lopez attempted to rescue the man approximately 1,500 feet from his chair. Signs in the area informed the public that swimming was at their own risk and that particular area was not equipped with a lifeguard.

It is odd that management seems to not be on the same page here about firing Lopez, and Jeff Ellis Management has possibly opened itself up for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys