Guardian Photographer’s Photo of Hospital Parking Attendant Gets Her Suspended

© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

Be careful who you let photograph you on the job… you might get suspended. That’s what happened to a woman named Debbie Heald who, last week, was put on “administrative suspension” after a photographer from the local Guardian newspaper snapped her photo for an article.

Taken by Brian McInnis, the photograph in question shows Heald presumably taking the parking ticket for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada where she is currently working, albeit technically employed by an outside contractor.

The image seems harmless enough, but when it appeared in the April 24th edition of the newspaper, Heald was notified that she would be suspended without pay until an investigation could be completed.

The reasoning? According to Peter Kramers, the CEO of the contracting security company Heald is employed for, “[her suspension was] related to hospital and corporate policies about contact with the media.” Beyond that, Kramers said he was not able to speak further on the situation.

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The good news is that Heald has since had her job reinstated and will be paid for the shifts that she missed during the suspension, but even then, she will be given a verbal reprimand, presumably because she allowed McInnis to take her photo and didn’t direct him instead to the hospital’s media contact.

Both Heald and her husband were dumbfounded upon finding out about the suspension, and maintain even now that they don’t believe she was ever in the wrong, and that the situation could have and should have been handled much better than it was.

Who do you think was in the wrong? Heald for not complying with hospital policy? McInnis for not going through the proper channels to get permission? Or the hospital and the outside contractor for handling the situation the way they did? Let us know in the comments.

(via The Guardian via Reddit)

  • Nancy Hall

    Once again…when the hospital has a policy that all media contacts have to go through the media office, then an employee who allows media contact is in violation of the hospital policy. Period. Why is that so hard to understand? They suspended the woman as they should have. They investigated. They must have determined that she was not at fault because they reinstated her with back pay. So…why is everyone having fits over this?

    You’re also focusing on you and your point of view. Try looking at the problem from the point of view of the hospital that’s charged with protecting patients from curiosity seekers, and the patient who wants to to be treated in private.

  • Nancy Hall

    Or they could have investigated, found that she did not intentionally violate policy, and reinstated her with back pay…which is what they did and what you seem to have trouble grasping. You’re also spinning some bizarre scenario that has nothing to do with what really happened.

  • Mike Swiech

    Who is to say that. What if the person was 15ft away on a sidewalk and took the same picture. Would it have the same outcome? Likely yes. Usually when there are violations there are steps to take, but rather they went for the extereme and suspended her for her having her photo taken whether or not she agreed or disagreed to it. Hospital staff and paitents are two different things here Nancy. Was there a photo of ANY patient, no, but that of a contracted employee for the hospital.

  • Mike Swiech

    That is the most iggnorant statement you have made to date…”Hospitals do not, generally, police their parking lots unless they cater to the rich and famous” Really….wow. you really must be out there. The job of security is to “SECURE” and that means the whole property, not just on the inside. You need a reality check when you think they only secure for the rich and famous. Come on now. Really.

    You are also wrong in regards to the disorderly conduct statement as well. If you are asked to leave and you refuse that is when you may be charged with a tresspass offence. Loitering is when you are impeeding the way of someone or something and not moving but rather then staying there. Again do you think of things before you are writing them down, or are you just writing them down for the sake of it?

    what point are you trying to make whether or not there is a psych facility on site?

  • Mike Swiech

    Why is it when someone else says anything that you say they are saying something that has nothing to do with the scenario and what happened? Why you are assuming. We are providing reasons and / or hypothetical’s here. We were not there and did not see or hear what happened, but rather have to go from what was seen in a CANDID shot that was posted to a newspaper.

  • lorenmooney

    It’s pretty clear that you’re the only one with something.

  • Nancy Hall

    Forgive me for talking about the actual article. What I described is not hypothetical it’s what happened. She violated her employer’s policy, she got suspended, her actions were investigated and she was reinstated with back pay. She was given a verbal, not written, reprimand so there’s nothing about the incident in her personnel file. Read the freaking article.

  • Nancy Hall

    You seem to change your argument from post to post. First the parking lot is not part of the area under protection and now it is.

    With regard to criminal charges…if the police have to be called, they’re going to charge you with anything they’d like and probably make it stick. I don’t think that police overreach is a good thing, but it’s a reality.