Shark Wrestler Paul Marshallsea Fired For Vacationing On Sick Leave

Paul Marshallsea fired shark wrestler Shark Wrestling Man Sacked Because He Was on Sick Leave
When a tourist was filmed yanking a 6-foot-long shark away from children, the 62-year-old became an overnight hero and Internet sensation. But Paul Marshallsea says that his good deed backfired, as his employer fired him and his wife shortly after. "If I had not gone on to save the kids, my wife and I would still have a job," he told The Daily Mirror.

The Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club, a Welsh-based charity, canned Marshallsea and his wife, Wendy, after seeing footage of Marshallsea's heroics in Australia because the couple had both been on extended sick leave for work-related stress since April. Marshallsea, formerly a project coordinator for the charity for 10 years, claimed that he and Wendy, a youth worker at the charity, had spent two months visiting friends in Queensland, Australia, because "our doctor advised us to go on holiday" as a way to relieve work-related stress, the BBC reports. He said that he'd been so devoted to his work that he was often toiling seven days a week.

The charity, however, viewed their vacation differently. In a letter to Marshallsea, which the BBC saw, the organization wrote, "Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way." A second letter said, "The breakdown of the trustees' confidence and trust in you and your ability to perform the role is so great that we find that dismissal is the only course of action we can recommend."

Paul Marshallsea says he is "disgusted" by his employer's decision. "Where do I now get a job?" he said, according to The Independent. The charity has declined to comment to the press, citing the advice of its attorney.

According to news reports at the time, Marshallsea, a father of three, jumped into the water when he heard the cries of "shark" and narrowly avoided being bitten by the shark when he pulled it away from toddlers frolicking in the water.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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198 Comments

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nikkig1219

Well, the union would consider it as sick leave. At my place of employment, If you are mentally stressed at work and unable to function to the ability and standards of the job, my boss would let us take mental health day. I have worked with children for five years, and I understand the work-related stress issues. You work with some people who slide by and have others do the work or you have a boss that micro-manages everything, because he/she does not trust their employess. I would rather have someone who is mentally refreshed, than a person who is stressed out. If you are not focused on your job, mentally as well as physically, then that is when serious problems arise. That Director of that organization is a moron.

March 18 2013 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fjk196336

Another case that proves Obamacare dose not work

March 17 2013 at 3:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gblank1603

He wasn't fired for a "heroic act" as the headlines states--he was fired for lying to his company.

March 15 2013 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gblank1603's comment
rreaction

Sick leave or vacation, it was his own leave time and the benefit of the doubt goes to him and his doctor. What you can do to save a child in jeopardy is outside the normal bounds of physics, anybody knows that. To sack him is cruel and evil. To reassess him is fair.

July 08 2013 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
liondog96

I was seen protesting while I should've been at work and my boss saw it on television. I told him it was my twin brother. I was praying at work and he tried to fire me by saying I was sleeping. This guy doesn't give up. He finally got me on dress up day, when it was postponed by the big shot owners in town. I dressed in a pink root suit. I walked right in on the head cheese. On my way out with security I read the sign: Dress up day is postponed until next Friday, sorry for any inconvenience, but as posted in yesterday's memo, we must be dressed in full business entire.

March 15 2013 at 8:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alliekkg

He didn't get fired for doing a good deed he got fired for lying to his employer and abusing sick leave. Just because he did something heroic in one area of his life doesn't mean he deserves to remain employed when he was dishonest with his employer. How long should he be allowed to capitalize on his "hero" status. Should he be allowed to shoplift or park in handicapped spaces too?

March 15 2013 at 1:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sharklover93

Talk about bad luck. I agree with the employer but I am happy the kids were safe.

March 14 2013 at 7:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

I actually have to agree with the employer...I know too many folks who milk the system and their con's are the reason health care is so high. That being said, unless his wife was also out on sick leave, she should NOT be fired. She didn't do anything wrong. I commend the gentleman for saving the lives of the kids but he was wrong about how he took leave off. If I take 3 days off I need a note from a doctor...2 months..a new position!!!

March 14 2013 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
jrgordon47

Since when can an employer dictate how you follow a doctors orders to relax and where you can go to follow those orders. Obviously the company agreed with the doctors evaluation and accepted his prescription, in as much they granted the sick leave. The trustees, it seems, are also evaluating what they deem to be the proper way to live one's life...if they had stayed home and their house caught fire, would they have been fired for fleeing the fire.

He/she where suffering from stress...not a broken back...they where not collecting sick leave and working another job.

It seems that Ebeneezer Scrooge is alive and kicking at "The Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club", a Welsh-based charity...not so charitable it seems.

March 14 2013 at 4:08 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jrgordon47's comment
jdu7155024

One word: MORON

March 14 2013 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jdu7155024's comment
jack

Damn, if they (both) can't handle the stress of working at a charity Boys& Girls Ranch they should find new work! Didn't seem to be stressed about playing with a shark! Maybe Sea World is hiring!!!

March 14 2013 at 11:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down
rreaction

You are totally right, except for your spelling of "were". How dare people fault him for taking a leave. It's not the same as cheating to get disability pay. It's his benefit that he earned that they want to take away. After a certain period the company has options and so does he but to fire him for that.... shame.

July 08 2013 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mgkz28

if he would have not saved the kids he would still have a job?
if he did what was right and be at work instead of stealing from his boss by calling in sick when he clearly was not ! he would still have a job
this guy is a joke

March 14 2013 at 2:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mgkz28's comment
ycplum

"...been on extended sick leave for work-related stress, ..."
"...because "our doctor advised us to go on holiday" as a way to relieve work-related stress..."

It wasn't like he called in sick because of a flu.

March 14 2013 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason

Sue them to the stone age. The man did NOTHING wrong. The ONLY sharks were the HEARTLESS Personal Human Resources fools at his company. Medical Stress related vacation is just that. Sitting at a beach is pretty stress releasing. I hope someday that EVERY one of those HR ilk with kids gets to hear how their kid drowned at the beach because the life guard was on a "stress-free break" and dared not enter the waves to save their kids. Worship the Corporation Almighty.

March 14 2013 at 1:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jason's comment
rreaction

amen

July 08 2013 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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