Suit: Firm surveilled medics, nixed sex
Medics who came from other states to help New York as the coronavirus ravaged the city in March found themselves under constant GPS surveillance by the company they worked for — and even had their sex lives restricted by their employer, according to a class action lawsuit filed in Brooklyn.
The EMTs and paramedics working for Ambulnz, which contracts with FEMA to provide ambulance services, had their lives entirely policed by the Big Brother-style firm, the lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Civil Court alleges.
“In addition to exercising total control of the movements and whereabouts of plaintiff and similarly situated EMTs and paramedics, Ambulnz further controlled their activities, including by prohibiting them from consuming alcohol or engaging in any sexual activity while at their hotel, in order to remain ‘on call’ for any emergencies,” the lawsuit states.
James Richard, the lead plaintiff in the case, worked 12-hour, seven-day shifts for Ambulnz and claims he was promised he’d be paid on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis by the company since the job required him to be on call at all hours. The Tennessee resident’s lawsuit says Ambulnz did not make good on the offer.
“Ambulnz promised EMTs and paramedics 24/7 pay only to renege on that once people were deployed to New York City,” said Sally Abrahamson, who represents Richard in the case.
“They did not make, nor did they expect to make, an exorbitant amount of money. But, they put their lives on the line and deserve to be paid what they were promised and what the law requires.”
After shifts, Richard claims EMTs were not altravel lowed to make their own arrangements to get back to the hotel from work sites, but were forced to wait for company shuttles or FEMA to transport them, the lawsuit says.
When they weren’t working their shifts, the EMTs were required to stay in their hotel rooms or otherwise face suspension or termination, according to the lawsuit. The company allegedly monitored the workers’ movements by stationing a security guard in the lobby of the hotel, as well as requiring the EMTs to carry phones with GPS.
“Ambulnz verified compensation practices for our New York City COVID-19 response contract with two separate, independent top tier labor law firms,” the company said in a statement. “Both of these firms confirmed that our payroll practices exceeded the amount required by law. We are completely confident in the rightness of our position, and believe this lawsuit is without merit.”
James Richard (center and below) claims in suit that EMTs and paramedics working for Ambulnz were cyberstalked, barred from drinking alcohol or having sex at their hotel, and not paid for being on call 24/7.