Lifeguard Gets Fired for Saving Someone’s Life

August 12, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. on the spot (idiom) 
[on thuh spot] – immediately; right where something has just happened
Example: The job applicant did not have to go through training after he was hired on the spot.

2. violate (v.) [vahy-uh-leyt] – to do something that is against the rules
Example: Wearing sleeveless shirt violates the company’s policy on uniforms.

3. liability (n.) [lahy-uh-bil-i-tee] – (in legal terms) a situation where one (company or service provider) is responsible for another (customer) and must pay the latter an amount of money for damages or failure to give what is expected
Example: The company has liability over the safety of its employees at work.

4. decline (v.) [dih-klahyn] – to say no to something
Example: The worker declined his boss’ offer of a promotion.

5. knowingly (adv.) [noh-ing-lee] – done with full knowledge of the situation and possible results of one’s actions
Example: The lawyer knowingly hid important evidence from the judge.

Read the text below.

Tomas Lopez, a 21-year-old lifeguard was fired on the spot after saving a man from drowning in Hallandale Beach, South Florida.

The man he saved was 1,500 meters outside of the protection zone of Jeff Ellis Management, the company that Lopez worked for. Lopez was fired for violating a company rule, which states that lifeguards are not allowed to go outside their assigned areas.

According to the company, the rule was made to avoid liability issues. The rule ensures that the company is not legally responsible for the lives of swimmers outside the protection zone. If someone outside the protection zone should need help, lifeguards should call the emergency number 911 and wait for medics to arrive.

Lopez said he knowingly violated the company rule, but he believes he did the right thing, and added that he would do it again if he had to. During the incident other lifeguards called 911 and watched over Lopez’ area while Lopez went to help the man.

Jeff Ellis, the company president, admits that the management’s decision to fire Lopez was unjustified. Lopez was offered his job back, but he declined the offer, saying he would like to focus on school and start his career.

Five lifeguards involved in the case were also offered their jobs back. Previously, two were fired for supporting Lopez’ decision to save the man and three quit in protest to the firing of their co-worker.

The man Lopez saved was rushed to Ventura hospital, where he is now reportedly in good condition.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the company’s decision to fire Lopez? Please explain your answer.
·         What are the situations wherein an employee can and should go against company policies?

Discussion B

·         Could you share a past experience in which you had to make a difficult choice or decision?
·         When faced with a dilemma, how can someone make the right decision?

August 12, 2012