PROFESSIONS – PARAMEDICS: MIRACLE V. BELL COUNTY FISCAL COURT (COA 7/27/2007)

MIRACLE V. BELL COUNTY FISCAL COURT
PROFESSIONS: PARAEMEDIC LICENSURE
TORTS: WRONGFUL DISCHARGE; WHISTLEBLOWER

2005-CA-002205
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL: VANMETER PRESIDING; THOMPSON, PAISLEY CONCUR
COUNTY: BELL COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 7/27/2007

This appeal arose from a paramedic’s suspension by physician director who would not allow the paramedic to "perform work in any capacity that requires use of my medical license.”  Trial court granted summary judgment dismissing the wrongful discharged for wrongful termination claim and this appeal followed.

COA held that Brumbach, as a paramedic, is not entitled to relief for his claim of wrongful discharge; KRS 311A.170(4) specifically provides that “[a] paramedic shall be permitted to render services only under the supervision of an emergency medical services medical director.”   KRS 311A.010(12) defines an emergency medical services medical director as “a physician licensed in Kentucky who is employed by, under contract to, or has volunteered to provide supervision for a paramedic or an ambulance service, or both.”

In the absence of a specific contractual provision to the contrary, employment in Kentucky is terminable at-will, meaning that an employer may ordinarily discharge an employee “for good cause, for no cause, or for a cause that some might view as morally indefensible.”   The mere termination of employment and the resulting embarrassment do not rise to the level of outrageous conduct and resulting severe emotional distress necessary to support a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

By Michael Stevens

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