The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) has placed 113 of its firefighters on unpaid leave for failure to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status, as of Monday.
The city’s mandate required all city workers, including firefighters, to submit their vaccination status by Dec. 18. There were 222 LAFD personnel that had not submitted their vaccination status, or requested a medical/religious exemption, leading the department to send those employees notices.
The original deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated was Oct. 5, but was later extended to Dec. 18, allowing more time to get a first dose or request the exemption.
“The City’s employee vaccine mandate is critical to protecting the health and safety of our workforce and the Angelenos we serve,” Garcetti said in an October statement. “Employees must be vaccinated by December 18, and we are putting a rigorous testing program into place in the meantime. Let me be clear: any employee who refuses to be vaccinated by this date should be prepared to lose their job.”
An organization calling itself the “Firefighters 4 Freedom” sought legal representation, stating their rights had been violated by the city’s vaccination orders.
“Your threat to place firefighters on ‘unpaid interim suspension’ violates their constitutionally protected due process rights as guaranteed by the Supreme Court of California and statutory law,” a notice penned by J.W. Howard Attorneys, directed toward LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas, said. “It is also in violation of the Firefighters Bill of Rights…”
About 83% of LAFD employees have been vaccinated, with 321 unvaccinated employees asking for qualified exemptions, according to CNS.