Reedy Creek Fire Department employees are now launching a legal battle in order to collect workers compensation benefits after some have been tested and diagnosed with COVID-19.
Firefighters and paramedics who serve Walt Disney World Resort state they have been denied workers compensation and are now speaking out on the issue.
According to ClickOrlando, Michael Grant, who has been a paramedic with Reedy Creek since 2018, tested positive with the virus while he was “on the job” on July 3. Grant went and quarantined at home for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended 14 days.
“I lost taste and smell quickly and I haven’t gotten back,” Grant said. “I have a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old and obviously they were my biggest concern.”
Records confirm that Grant was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 3, which was just one day after he was on his shift with Reedy Creek. But Grant is speaking out because even with the connection of Grant getting infected while on the job, he was denied workers compensation benefits and because of the unique policy, he was forced to use up his own personal sick leave for his time off.
“We’re on the front lines dealing with COVID every day,” Grant said. “For us not being taken care of is a slap in the face.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Reedy Creek Improvement District wrote a statement to News 6. Within the statement, the spokesperson confirmed the first responder sick leave policy, writing “If an employee from the fire department tests positive for COVID-19, they are sick and can use their sick time.”
Reedy Creek also confirmed that “If an employee is placed on district-approved quarantine, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they receive paid leave.”
Not all are happy with the Reedy Creek Fire Department’s policy as the president of Union Local 2117 Tim Stromsnes has also spoken out in Grant’s defense. Stromsnes said he is waiting for Reedy Creek to “do the right thing.”
“What I’m worried about is what if Mike Grant has an issue six months from now? We don’t know,” Stromsnes stated.
Officials with Reedy Creek provided the following statement to ClickOrlando: