PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Supreme Court has sided with the city of Providence in a lawsuit by a former fire department lieutenant who says he was “berated” for letting a dispatcher sprawl on his chair, then transferred and demoted.

Russell G. Gross’s lawsuit against Public Safety Director Steven M. Paré and former department of communications director William Trinque failed to point out anything the city did that was “extreme or outrageous,” Thursday’s opinion from the Supreme Court said. The opinion upheld a lower court’s ruling.

“Although Trinque may have berated plaintiff, there is nothing in the record that suggests that any conduct by any defendant was so extreme or outrageous such that it was ‘beyond all possible bounds of decency’; ‘utterly intolerable in a civilized community’; or would lead someone to exclaim ‘Outrageous!’” the opinion said, citing a legal text. “Simply put, the incident at the crux of plaintiff’s claims was a workplace dispute.”

The complaint, for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy, centers on a March 13, 2015 dispute. Gross says Trinque went up to one of Gross’s dispatchers who was sprawled on his chair and said, “Are you comfortable?”

The dispatcher, not named in the opinion, responded: “Now that you mention it, director, not really.”

Gross says Trinque shouted back: “Sit up!”

Later, Trinque brought Gross to his office, where they had a contentious conversation, Gross says. Trinque blamed Gross for letting one of his dispatchers sit like that while on duty, Gross claimed.

Paré transferred Gross from the department of communications to the training division for four weeks, Gross said. Gross then went out of work with head pains and an elevated blood pressure in late June that year. The health problems were caused by the defendants' actions, Gross said.

Gross was demoted from lieutenant to firefighter while he was out, leading to two grievances that were settled in arbitration for a payment — which the court described as “substantial.” Gross retired in February 2016, according to the opinion.

Gross also filed a complaint in court, but the city argued that the suit should be dismissed because its employees’ conduct wasn’t outrageous and that it hadn’t published anything false or fictitious about Gross.

A hearing justice sided with the city, and on Thursday, so did the Supreme Court.

“The plaintiff was not in close proximity to a traumatic event of any kind, nor did he witness such an event in which a close relative was injured,” the court wrote, rejecting, among other claims, negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The amount of the payment to settle Gross’s grievances was not immediately available. Gross’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

"We are pleased with the decision of the court and we always maintained Mr. Gross was treated fairly and professionally," Paré said in an emailed statement. "We thank him for his service and wish him well in his retirement."