Paramedic fired following homophobic Facebook postings

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 4:50pm

The Nashville Fire Department has fired paramedic Kevin Kennedy, a 20-year veteran, for disregarding a direct order after he was disciplined for posting homophobic comments to his Facebook page in August.

On Sept. 12, the department suspended Kennedy for 25 12-hour shifts without pay for previous Facebook posts in which he referred to coworkers as “queers” and wrote they should “crawl back into the closet.” Kennedy’s Facebook page also contained a picture of him in his fire department uniform, according to Deputy Chief Kim Lawson of the department’s Community Services Bureau.

Aside from his suspension, Kennedy was also ordered to attend anger management and diversity classes.

At a disciplinary hearing, Chief Stephen Halford warned Kennedy not to do or say anything that might be construed as retaliation against the two employees, but later made another Facebook post, which Lawson said could have been viewed as retaliatory.

The department issued a letter on Monday informing Kennedy of his termination.

“We want to be trusted by the public and in no way tolerate those actions,” Lawson said.

Kennedy now has the right to appeal the department’s decision before the Metro Civil Service Commission.