Michael Browder, Jr. today sued Boston for a minimum of $8,342,068 in damages for putting him on unpaid leave in October, 2021 after denying his request for a religious exemption from the city's requirement that employees get Covid-19 shots.
In a suit filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Browder is also seeking additional damages for the "emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, sleeplessness and emotional trauma" he has suffered over the past year.
He says this includes being unable to get unemployment and being turned down for fire-related jobs outside Boston. Browder, who is Black, charges White firefighters got exemptions and that both the department and his own union humiliated him - he alleges the firefighters union president at the time "openly ridiculed" him for his religious beliefs in e-mail to city personnel officials, who, he says, did nothing.
Browder's complaint does not specify the nature of his beliefs against vaccination, but said he offered a way he could still perform his job while staying away from shots: While on a shift, he would do a twice-daily health self-assessments and temperature checks and wear face masks and other PPE. BFD required all firefighters to follow these steps before Covid-19 vaccines were released.
Browder is represented by Richard Chambers of Lynnfield, who a number of people suing Boston over Covid-19-related matters, including several people seeking $6 million apiece over the city's former vaccination requirement for public spaces and a Jehovah's Witness who is both part of that suit and a separate suit against Boston Police for the way he was fired for not getting his shots.