Firefighter claims he was forced to quit after caring for dying son

Eric Anderson said in a lawsuit against the city and fire officials that he was retaliated against after taking time off to care for his son with brain cancer

By FireRescue1 Staff

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — A former firefighter filed a lawsuit against the city and fire officials, claiming he was retaliated against for taking time off to care for his dying son.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported that former Springdale Fire Department firefighter Eric Anderson is suing Chief Mike Irwin, former Assistant Chief Kevin McDonald and Assistant Chief Ron Skelton and claims they violated the federal Family and Medical Leave Act by ostracizing him for taking care of his son who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

Anderson said his son was diagnosed in 2014, but his condition worsened in 2016. Anderson then requested to leave intermittently and traded shifts with colleagues to care for his child while still attending training and making up shifts.  Anderson’s son died Aug. 2017.

The lawsuit claims that fire officials changed shift-trading policies in 2017 as a way to attack Anderson, and that colleagues began to bully him as a result.

"Since the announcement of the policy, Eric has been treated with such contempt that his continued employment was intolerable, and he was forced to find work elsewhere," the lawsuit said.

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