DC Fire and EMS members file $100M lawsuit over pension

Loading Video…

This browser does not support the Video element.

Former DC and EMS workers file suit over retirement benefits

More than 100 former D.C. Fire and EMS members have filed a $100 million lawsuit over retirement benefits.

More than 100 former D.C. Fire and EMS members filed a $100 million lawsuit Wednesday over retirement benefits. 

In a class action lawsuit, the group alleges they are being illegally deprived of their earned retirement benefits after pension funds were diverted to other uses — including equipment costs. 

According to attorney Pam Keith of the Center for Employment Justice, the problem stems from a 2006 merger of what was once separate fire and ambulance services.

"The merger was complicated because D.C. firefighters participated in a life-long defined benefit pension plan, while EMS employees, who were predominantly minorities and women, were part of a less generous city-wide defined contribution 401(a) program," a press release issued by the Center for Employment Justice reads. 

Get CPR training for free with DC Fire and EMS

D.C. Fire and EMS offers free classes on CPR and AED awareness.

Attorney Keith believes the District's decision not to honor its pension obligations is unlawful, and that it wreaks of racial discrimination because almost 70% of the people affected are minorities. 

"D.C. Fire and EMS has a long history of devaluing African Americans and women," Keith said. "The decision to divest plaintiffs of their retirements is par for the course."

The lawsuit accuses the agency of violating the law, breach of contract, breach of enforceable promises, and intentional race discrimination, among other claims. 

D.C. firefighter charged with felony assault after fight with fellow firefighter: DC Fire and EMS

An on-duty D.C. firefighter was charged with felony assault after reportedly choking another firefighter until was unconscious.

Keith and some of the impacted former first responders will hold a press conference on Thursday at 11 a.m. in front of Fire Engine 31 Station located at 4930 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

FOX 5 reached out to D.C. Fire and EMS for comment. A spokesperson said she has not seen the lawsuit and directed us to the D.C. Attorney General's Office, which has yet to respond to a request for comment.