During the terrifying early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, four New York City ambulance workers claimed they were reprimanded for speaking to the media.
Their union announced Wednesday that they had struck a settlement in their free speech action against the fire department and the city.
The four emergency medical professionals will each receive $29,999, according to a representative for FDNY EMS Local 2507, including paramedic Elizabeth Bonilla, who permitted the Associated Press to follow her during the first half of a 16-hour double shift in April 2020.
In addition, the city will remove from its files any allegation that they broke departmental regulations by speaking to the media.
The city’s law enforcement agency and the fire department both received messages requesting comments.
In June 2020, Bonilla filed a complaint in federal court in Manhattan on behalf of himself and three other paramedics—Alexander Nunez, Megan Pfeiffer, and John Rugen—claiming they had been wrongfully punished for speaking to the media about their work against the coronavirus outbreak.
According to their union, Rugen was placed on restricted status and suspended for 30 days without pay, while Bonilla, Nunez, and Pfeiffer were prohibited from treating any patients.
“Our union always maintained that the City and FDNY’s case was predicated upon nothing more than prosecutorial overzealousness,” the local’s president, Oren Barzilay, said in a statement.
“With this settlement, justice is finally served, if a little cold after nearly three years,” Barzilay stated.