Former Mass. EMT files suit against town, former chief for bias, harassment

Lt. Rich Michelson alleges discrimination, a lack of due process and that a faulty misconduct claim was used to fire him


By Leila Merrill

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. — Former Oak Bluffs Fire-EMS Department EMT Lt. Rich Michelson, who is African American, is suing the town of Oak Bluffs and former Chief John Rose. The suit alleges discrimination, a lack of due process and retaliation, the Martha’s Vineyard Times reported Wednesday.

The lawsuit, filed in February, says that Michelson tried to prompt an investigation into the former chief’s alleged sexual harassment of female employees.

The lawsuit says that former Oak Bluffs Fire-EMS Department EMT Lt. Rich Michelson tried to spur an investigation into the former chief’s alleged sexual harassment of female employees.
The lawsuit says that former Oak Bluffs Fire-EMS Department EMT Lt. Rich Michelson tried to spur an investigation into the former chief’s alleged sexual harassment of female employees. (Photo/Oak Bluffs Fire-EMS Department)

Michelson claimed that Rose retaliated by using a faulty misconduct claim to fire him.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and alleges that Michelson endured a loss of income, emotional distress and humiliation, the news outlet reported.

Michelson, his attorney, and Rose did not respond to requests for comment.

Neither did Ryan Ruley, Oak Bluffs select board chair. The board took up the lawsuit in an executive session Tuesday.

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