A group of New York City emergency medical service workers who gave interviews to the news media, including NPR, are suing the city for allegedly retaliating against them after speaking about their experiences responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday with the federal court in Manhattan, four EMS workers allege the city is violating their right to speak on issues of public concern under the First Amendment, as well as their due process rights.
In late April, the New York City Fire Department sent letters notifying three paramedics — including Elizabeth Bonilla, who spoke to NPR earlier that month — that they were restricted from treating patients, according to the complaint. Workers on restricted status are not allowed to receive overtime or work for any other emergency medical services in the city's 911 system. The letters, the complaint says, gave no reason why they were put under restrictions.