Ousted state firefighter of year sues City of Orlando for 'wrongful termination'

Josh Granada says dismissal was 'retaliation' for PTSD

Joshua Granada

ORLANDO, Fla. – Joshua Granada, the 2017 fire fighter of the year, filed a wrongful termination civil lawsuit against the city of Orlando Thursday, arguing the reason cited for his dismissal was just an excuse to remove him from the job.

Granada, a 10-year veteran of the Orlando Fire Department, was recognized for his response to the Pulse nightclub massacre during a ceremony in Tallahassee with Gov. Rick Scott last week.

The ousted EMT has been very critical of the department’s initial response to the deadly shooting.

His attorney, Geoff Bichler, said Granada is haunted by the notion that he could have done more that night but was ordered away from the scene.

[READ: Audio recording of Regina Hill ends career for 2017 'Firefighter of the Year']

“The termination in this case was due entirely to the ongoing attempt by Mr. Granada to claim workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD, and related vocalized concerns that Orlando Fire leadership provided an entirely inadequate response to the Pulse shooting at the time the event was unfolding,” Bichler said.
“We are seeking economic damages and non-economic damages (pain and suffering) as allowed by law.”

Bichler told News 6 the wrongful termination civil action argues that the city violated Florida statute 44.205, part of the anti-retaliation provisions of the Florida Workers Compensation act.

“We feel that the evidence will support the allegations and that we will prevail in this case,” Bilcher said.

Granada was fired in November after admitting he recorded comments made by city commissioner Regina Hill during a response to a woman in medical distress at the Double Tree Hotel.

[READ: PTSD-diagnosed firefighter fired over Regina Hill recording speaks​]

Granada said he had no idea Hill was the woman in distress but decided to hit record on his cellphone when she became belligerent and started making accusations.
“I wanted to protect all of us on the scene," he said. ”From what I heard and what I saw I felt the need, I thought it would be prudent.”

Bichler is convinced the agency went too far and that his client should be compensated .

“Most agencies operate within the context of a system that provides for discipline and discipline over time and this went off the rails," he said.

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.