ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orange County Fire Rescue (OCFR) battalion chief was fired after officials say he failed to follow a direct order.
His attorney says the decision has to do with the county’s rule to reprimand employees who don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Stephen Davis had been with the department since 2007 and had command of around 55 to 60 employees within OCFR as battalion chief.
“He has younger kids, and this is a very abrupt change,” his attorney, Rachel Rodriguez, said about his firing.
Rodriguez says Davis got a list of names earlier this month of employees to be written up for not getting the shot.
“He said, ‘There are individuals here that I know have been trying to apply for religious exemption and/or he saw individuals there who had been vaccinated,’” she said.
Rodriguez says Davis went up the chain of command with his concerns and was ultimately fired.
Orange County Fire Rescue only sent FOX 35 a short statement saying Davis failed to follow a direct order.
“He’s a great battalion chief, great firefighter. He served in the military. [He] was a combat medic in the military,” said Orange County Firefighter Jason Wheat.
Wheat and Davis are both part of a lawsuit against the county, which claims the vaccine rules are unconstitutional.
While Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings initially said employees who refuse to get the shot could lose their jobs, he later decided to just issue reprimands.
Rodriguez says she and Davis are reviewing his legal rights as they decide how to proceed.