Boston Firefighter Seeks $8.3 Million Over COVID Vaccine Suspension

A Boston firefighter who was placed on unpaid leave due to his failure to comply with the city’s COVID vaccination requirements has filed suit seeking $8,342,068.00 in damages from the city. Michael Browder Jr. filed suit in Suffolk County Superior Court yesterday.

Browder claims he refused to get the COVID vaccine due to sincerely held religious beliefs associated with his Muslim faith, and that the city refused to consider his requests for an accommodation. He further claims he was discriminated against on account of his African American race when the city later eased its policy after so many non-African Americans failed to comply.

What is rather strange about Browder’s complaint is that while the factual allegations make a case for race and religious discrimination, the seven pleaded counts allege an assortment of state law claims. These counts include:

  • detrimental reliance/promissory estoppel;
  • intentional misrepresentation/deceit;
  • negligence;
  • tortious interference with a business relationship;
  • intentional infliction of emotional distress;
  • breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing; and
  • assault.

Notably absent are any allegations of race discrimination or religious discrimination under state or federal law, or any Constitutional claims.

Here is a copy of the complaint.

Here are some on the many headlines that would lead one to believe the case is a race and/or religious discrimination suit.

Muslim FF sues Boston over COVID discrimination

Muslim firefighter sues Boston for putting him on unpaid leave for refusing Covid-19 shots

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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