PARAMEDIC and talented basketballer Andrea McMahon is appealing her sacking for taking too much unpaid sick leave to play sport.
The ambulance employees union yesterday claimed Ms McMahon’s paramedic career was terminated on Tuesday after she took four shifts off without pay to play for Ballarat Rush.
Ms McMahon did not wish to comment, apart from confirming she will try to get her job back.
Ambulance Employees Australia secretary Steve McGhie said Ms McMahon previously had a local arrangement about her rostering but it changed when a centralised Melbourne-based rostering system took over.
He said she had made an innocent mistake and her punishment was too harsh.
“She was open and honest with them. She thought she was doing the right thing,” Mr McGhie said.
He said an Ambulance Victoria investigation over three months found Ms McMahon guilty of serious misconduct.
However, he said other actions could have been taken, including a disciplinary warning or supervision.
“It’s unfortunate she was not given an opportunity to rectify the issues and redeem herself and get on with her career.”
Mr McGhie said Ms McMahon had been a paramedic for the past five years and had an exemplary record.
He said her sporting career was even used in Ambulance Victoria promotional material.
“There could have been other actions rather than terminating her career. “It’s a very harsh decision to make. It’s very tragic for her and it will hit her peers and colleagues hard too.
“She is very well liked and respected.”
Colleague Barry Brennan said all the paramedics at Ms McMahon’s Wendouree branch were devastated by the decision.
“Andrea is exactly what this town and region needs,” Mr Brennan said yesterday.
“She has an exemplary record and we are already short of qualified staff. We can’t see why our employer needs to treat her this way.”
Ambulance Victoria yesterday confirmed Ms McMahon’s termination but did not wish to comment further for privacy reasons.