Hounded heroes

Suit: Firm surveilled medics, nixed sex

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY NOAH GOLD­BERG

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.

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