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25 firefighters file lawsuit against Spokane mayor, fire chief over vaccine mandate

The firefighters are suing Mayor Woodward, Fire Chief Schaeffer and the city for wrongful termination regarding the Oct. 18 vaccine mandate.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Court documents show 25 firefighters filed a lawsuit against the city of Spokane, Mayor Nadine Woodward and city Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

According to documents, the firefighters are suing for wrongful termination after learning the city intends to fire them for failing to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before the Oct. 18 mandate. This is the second lawsuit filed by Spokane firefighters related to the mandate.

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate proclamation was issued by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Sept. 27, 2021. The proclamation stated that all healthcare, education and state employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, or they could be terminated.  

In the court document, the firefighters and their legal team believe the firing violates their civil rights and deprive Spokane of critical emergency services. The documents also say the firefighters were all approved, but not accommodated for, a religious exemption by the city.

The lawsuit also reports that Woodward, Schaeffer and the city were “arbitrary,” “capricious” and “discriminatory against protected classes,” citing other firefighters who work office jobs at the station and do not provide emergency services.

The firefighters and their legal team also brought forth numerous causes of action for the lawsuit, the lawsuit says. These causes included due process, free exercise of religion, equal protection, violation of the Americans with Disabilities act, breach of contract, emotional distress and an infringement of privacy rights.

KREM 2 reached out to the City of Spokane for a statement and are waiting to hear back.

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