coronavirus outbreak

Ambulance Employee Says She Got Fired for Objecting to Inadequate Protective Gear

Wilson was a co-worker of Rayan Melendez, who filed a separate suit against the company on Thursday with the same allegations.

In this file photo, a patient is taken from an ambulance to the emergency room of a hospital.
Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

A second ambulance company employee is suing her former employer, alleging she was fired for objecting to transporting coronavirus patients without adequate protective gear.

The suit filed Thursday on behalf of Kaitlin Wilson against Montebello-based Lifeline Ambulance alleges wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation. She's seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Wilson was a co-worker of Rayan Melendez, who filed a separate suit against the company on Thursday with the same  allegations. Contacted Friday, a company representative declined to comment on the suits.

Wilson began working at the firm in March 2019 as an emergency medical technician and last September was paired with Melendez, according to her suit. Like Melendez, her primary job duties included transporting patients between facilities and assessing them prior to and during transportation.

She maintains she and Melendez protested the lack of fitted N95 masks, but were rebuffed in their requests to be given them.

She explained during a meeting in May that the CDC considered masks non-protective if they were not fitted and that it was reasonable for her and Melendez to refuse to transport a coronavirus patient if they did not have safe protection.

The company CFO asked Wlson what was “really wrong” with her and said the plaintiff was “obviously emotional about something,'' according to the suit.

Wilson and Melendez were fired later in May and the company cited harassment as the reason, according to the suit.

“Rayan Melendez and plaintiff did not at any time engage in harassing behavior,” the suit states.

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