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Home > Topics > EMS Management
December 23, 2013

Texas medic suspended for inappropriate Facebook post

Austin paramedic Robert Yarger will be suspended for two 12-hour shifts

By EMS1 Staff

AUSTIN, Texas — A medic will be temporarily suspended beginning on Dec. 28 after posting "inappropriate and unprofessional" information on Facebook.

According to KVUE, Austin paramedic Robert Yarger will be suspended for two 12-hour shifts.

Yarger is being disciplined after posting "inappropriate and unprofessional" information on his own Facebook account which, a memo said, "brought discredit upon another City Department, himself, and ATCEMS."

Comments
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Jason Osborne Jason Osborne Monday, December 23, 2013 5:27:45 PM Obviously the company that suspended this employee had not see the CT Supreme Court ruling that stated that face book was private and overturned AMR employee firing for posting on face book. I sure hope this employee reads this post and hires. Lawyer.
Dottie Di Liddo Dottie Di Liddo Monday, December 23, 2013 5:51:26 PM Personally I think EMS folks need to wake up and smell the coffee, if you go on Facebook and run your mouth and talk poorly about your department, patients, calls, the county you work in etc, you should get in trouble. We claim to be professionals wether paid or volunteer, we need to start acting that way. You certainly have freedom of speech but along with that come the consequences of your actions. And ANYONE who thinks Facebook is private is kidding themselves. Just because an AMR employee hired a sketch lawyer does not make his actions right or appropriate.
Ray Warren Ray Warren Monday, December 23, 2013 6:01:42 PM They should have fired him...
Jason Dye Jason Dye Monday, December 23, 2013 6:05:45 PM Bunch of damn dumbass administration in Texas EMS administration!
John Fekety John Fekety Monday, December 23, 2013 6:13:30 PM If I were you I would sue my law school for totally failing in its duty to educate you. You did go to law school right?
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Monday, December 23, 2013 6:36:39 PM Jason Osborne, you obviously have missed some relevant legal distinctions here. First, decisions of the CT Supreme Court are irrelevant in Texas. Second, AMR is a private corporation while ATC-EMS is a public agency. Third, the US Supreme Court (the one that DOES count) has long recognized the rights of public employers to limit the speech of public employees. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in 1892, "There may be a constitutional right to talk politics, but there is no constitutional right to be a policeman." The so-called right/privilege distinction was maintained even as late as 1952 when, in Adler v Board of Education, the Court said, "You have a constitutional right to say and think as you will, but you have no constitutional right to work for the government." A good treatise on this whole subject can be found here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/publicemployees.htm Short answer - if you work for a governmental EMS (or any other agency), you ought to conduct yourself on Facebook as you would in your boss's office. Show your backside, and they will probably show you the door.
Bruce A Mills Bruce A Mills Monday, December 23, 2013 6:50:18 PM Why wait until Dec 28 ?
John Lindsey John Lindsey Monday, December 23, 2013 6:50:27 PM Skip, thanks again for taking the time to give us real legal information, as opposed to the absolute garbage that gets passed around our profession, too often from officers and instructors who should know better.
Carl Homa Carl Homa Monday, December 23, 2013 6:54:19 PM Thanks for bringing some reality to the conversation, Skip. For my edification, if a Facebook post by a government employee is made with the purpose of organizing a group or bringing light to potential wrong doing could that be considered protected speech?
Kip Teitsort Kip Teitsort Monday, December 23, 2013 6:55:34 PM Skip is much more of a leader and a steward for our profession than many know.
Skip Kirkwood Skip Kirkwood Monday, December 23, 2013 7:13:39 PM Carl Homa - yes, mostly. Speech on "matters of public concern" is generally protected. Organizing a labor group is generally protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Matters of public concern, like how the local EMS system is being under-funded, are generally protected. Individual grievances by employees against bosses or companies are not usually "matters of public concern." Here's a case from the 4th US Circuit that lays it out pretty well, if any of the amateur lawyers are interested in what real judges have to say about this topic: http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/061038.P.pdf Clearly, "personal grievances" are not matters of public concern, at least in states falling under the 4th Circuit.
Aj Hamlin Aj Hamlin Monday, December 23, 2013 7:22:07 PM What did he post?
M'Lisa Leigh Jarrett M'Lisa Leigh Jarrett Monday, December 23, 2013 7:32:46 PM Photos of Duke basketball..LOL
Jen Peikert Jen Peikert Monday, December 23, 2013 7:33:24 PM Texas is a right to work state, this gentleman is lucky he didn't lose his job. Personally, Thumper's mother had it right, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. We all know that there is some sort of BS politics in any profession, it doesn't matter if it's EMS, a garbage collector or some big wig working in the corporate world. Ultimately, it is how you want to face those politics, like a child or an adult.
Aj Hamlin Aj Hamlin Monday, December 23, 2013 7:34:30 PM M'Lisa Leigh Jarrett hardee har har har
M'Lisa Leigh Jarrett M'Lisa Leigh Jarrett Monday, December 23, 2013 7:35:18 PM Aj Hamlin No but really what did he post, find out yet?
Aj Hamlin Aj Hamlin Monday, December 23, 2013 7:37:40 PM M'Lisa Leigh Jarrett not a word
Michael Smith Michael Smith Monday, December 23, 2013 7:37:57 PM Why? What did the person do wrong?
Tyler Hicks Tyler Hicks Monday, December 23, 2013 8:32:08 PM https://www.myworldnews.com/Channel/206-kxan/Story/307511-austin-paramedic-suspended-for-inappropriate-facebook-post
Matthew Whitt Matthew Whitt Monday, December 23, 2013 8:48:31 PM The CT supreme court has nothing to do with Texas.
Brigitte Blackburn Brigitte Blackburn Monday, December 23, 2013 9:31:23 PM FREEDOM OF SPEECH, but if your a professional, you should hold your tongue. We all kno what goes on, they just don't want the world to know the truth, just like with every other thing that's happening in the world. Just keep the people....SHEEPLE, and everything is fine.
Brett W Waters Brett W Waters Monday, December 23, 2013 10:58:33 PM I'm not in anyway agreeing with Jason Osborne, but I do want to say this. As far as people making comments that the CT S.C. ruling has no bearing in TX. This is both correct and incorrect. No current ruling in CT has any bearing in a case in Texas but it does set something called precedence. In other words if this individual in TX were to file a civil lawsuit fighting his suspension, his attorneys will use the CT S.C. ruling as precedence. Now this may not affect the out coming of a TX ruling, but the presiding judge will read the ruling and take into consideration its legality when making his ruling. I'm not trying to sound condescending, I just wanted to make sure that it was clear what I was trying to say as it is easy for me to get sidetracked.
Rob Wayne Rob Wayne Monday, December 23, 2013 11:23:37 PM Picture of Tony Romo
Alana Miller Alana Miller Tuesday, December 24, 2013 2:20:27 AM I had to sign an agreement about social media postings at the county that I worked... I am betting he did too...
Ed Hillenbrand Ed Hillenbrand Tuesday, December 24, 2013 2:29:49 AM Bruce A Mills No one to cover of course.
Thomas Haynes Thomas Haynes Tuesday, December 24, 2013 7:39:57 AM PROFESSIONAL?????? are we paid professionals? A professional baseball player makes millions a year, a professional actor makes millions a year, a professional football player makes millions a year, a professional anything makes a lot more money than any of us. We want the title professional but we are not professional if we accept anything less than freedom. As a veteran and a person who has served not only my country in Uniform but my city for numerous decades I can say we should be called professional but my concern is this, at what cost? Where does an employer's rights stop and my freedom begin? When am I seen as just a citizen? When do I have rights I have fought for and men and women have died to keep free for all not a select few? At what point do I gain my freedom without censorship or intrusion from my employer or an offended individual? If this is the cost of professionalism then someone tell me again why the Fire/EMS/Police are usually the first to suffer cuts and budget restraints while cities build arena's for athletes and singers? Look at Detroit. No freedom should never be free but when you call yourself a title such as professional you also should not lose rights afforded to you by the constitution that has yet to be challenged concerning an expression, statement, belief or opinion made while conducting ones self OFF DUTY. If this is the reach of any employer then should I not also be covered in an injury while off duty, should I not be paid while off duty representing this company as a professional, should I not be allowed to wear insignia and be seen as a representative of the company while off duty? My employer has the right to limit my conduct that might bring discredit to the department during my actions while in public, but to say they have the right to govern my speech in a forum that is based on friends knowing one another or someone within your friends domain is a reach at best and slavery at worst and should be promptly and easily defended in the courts. The problem again comes down to the simple statement of PROFESSIONAL. If we were professional we would have the means to which we could defend ourselves in court but since we only have the title of professional we are merely seen as an employee with a title. thx, thats my opinion and all opinions are the expressed views of myself and no other person represented here or eluded to in any form or expression lest it be myself is a part of this conversation.
Todd Martinez Todd Martinez Tuesday, December 24, 2013 8:57:57 AM Someone mentioned that Texas is a right to work state and he is lucky that he wasn't fired... Right to work simply means that union membership is not compulsory ... You don't have to join a union as a condition of employment... You have the right to work ... And yes... Union or no union .. You can be canned for posting stupid stuff on social media sited... Especially if those remarks pertain to your supervisors, fellow employees etc and are not of a public concern
Len Shubitowski Len Shubitowski Tuesday, December 24, 2013 1:02:14 PM 1. Anything posted on social media regarding employment is courting disaster. As a union steward, the simple advice: don't join and if you do, before you post, think about it, think about it again, and a third time, and then hit 2. CT was, to the best of my recollection, the National Labor Relations Board and was settled before a formal trial. As far as how far the applicability goes... not too far as I think part of the ruling was that there were no policies in place regarding social media at AMR at that time. (don't call me on my memory). 3. Remember #1 above. Don't join
Kevin Winston Kevin Winston Tuesday, December 24, 2013 5:02:02 PM Todd would you please give it a rest until maybe Jan. 1st.
Kevin Winston Kevin Winston Tuesday, December 24, 2013 5:16:03 PM Merry Christmas to all and all a good night Todd Martinez
Robert Gift Robert Gift Thursday, December 26, 2013 6:59:11 PM Tyler Hicks Your reply is worthless. What did Yarger publish? Others were allowed to see but censored for us? Laughably absurd.
Nettelee Lelieth Cooper Nettelee Lelieth Cooper Saturday, January 11, 2014 7:29:29 AM Tasteless
Dayshena Cleare Dayshena Cleare Tuesday, January 14, 2014 11:55:35 AM Ray ,come out the bushes your getting left behind. No one really listing to racist. Find a cure and it's called the love of God. Your comment of black's thinning themselves out ...uncalled for...likewise little white kids can't grown-up there white peers want let them. You need to pray your children make it home safe from school because people of all complexion are thinning out.
Missy Brownlee Missy Brownlee Monday, January 20, 2014 7:47:08 PM R U threatening his children. It sounds like ur planning to do something creepy to them when they come home from school. I am like ready to call 911 and have u arrested. This is pretty creepy, dude!

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