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Former county EMS director files suit

News Enterprise - 12/28/2017

Hardin County's former EMS director has filed an anti-discrimination suit claiming he was wrongfully discharged from his job.

John Malcomson, a Radcliff resident, was suspended in June and discharged in July about one year after returning to work following a health emergency, which left him with a disability requiring some work-related restrictions.

In the four-page lawsuit filed last week in Hardin Circuit Court, Malcomson names Hardin Fiscal Court and Judge-Executive Harry Berry as defendants.

Malcolmson asks the court for compensatory damages, reimbursement of legal fees and "any other relief to which he may otherwise be properly entitled." No dollar figure is mentioned in the suit.

When the holiday weekend began Friday, defendants had not yet been served with the suit. Regardless, Berry said the county government would maintain its practice of declining comment on pending litigation.

During a public meeting in which Fiscal Court approved Malcomson's firing, Berry said his recommendation stemmed from "misbehavior and inappropriate activity within the department." Berry also said low morale and high turnover influenced his decision.

"Mr. Malcomson's focus on the operations and business of the department is lacking. His availability is limited and unpredictable," Berry said. "He routinely misses meetings, fails to meet expenses, demonstrates serious mood swings and is frequently disrespectful in his tone and demeanor toward his superiors and his subordinates."

Malcolmson became emergency medical services director in August of 2014. As a result of an aortic dissection suffered in January 2014, he missed nearly 18 months of work. A complication required a partial left foot amputation and, according to the lawsuit, he was regarded as disabled by county government upon returning to work.

The lawsuit described a reprimand presented by Bryce Shumate, his supervisor, and Deputy Judge-Executive Jim Roberts following Malcolmson's return to work. He was cited for failing to provide documentation of employee training. He claims in the suit the documentation had not been required during his initial two years of employment.

Malcomson, who missed work again in May 2017 with further complications related to the aortic dissection, said he was notified of his suspension June 22 and told by Berry he "was not capable of performing his job responsibilities."

A civil suit provides only one side of a dispute. The county will file a formal response before the case proceeds in Hardin Circuit Court.

 
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