DETROIT - A Detroit EMS worker said he was fired because he spoke up, and said others were promoted above him because of his color. The worker sued and fought to get his job back, but he said that’s not enough. He said that he lost alot of money due to court costs.
Michael Christy, 42, has been working for Detroit EMS for over 20 years. Christy said in 2008, his employment drastically changed. “I've heard conversations between the administration in management about reducing the number of white EMS personnel,'' Christy said. The Assistant EMS Supervisor who works out of Detroit Fire headquarters said he became a target.
“Constant harassment, constant micromanagement from my crew of supervisors,” Christy said.
In 2009, Christy, along with several colleagues filed a whistleblower lawsuit charging reverse discrimination and failure to promote. It wasn’t long after the lawsuit was filed that Christy was fired.
“I’ve lost quite a bit, I've lost half my annuities just so I could kept my family fed and to keep up on my bills so we didn't lose the house,” Christy said.
Christy said he went into his retirement and took out more than $80,000 to pay for his family’s expenses while he was off the job. It wouldn’t be until two months later that the department trial board would dismiss the accusation against Christy and put him back on duty. He said that harassment continued, and that he received death threats.
But Christy pushed on.
“It affects everyone. There's way too much at stake to let this type of management continue on,” Christy said. Christy and his attorney believe he was let go and harassed because of the lawsuit. Even thought it was determined Christy’s firing was unwarranted, there been no talk of compensating him for the income lost.
A top fire official told Local 4 that these incidents did take place, but could not fully comment because the issue is still in the legal system.
Both sides will head back to court at the end of the week.
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