Los Angeles has announced that as of last week, 24 employees have been terminated for refusing to comply with requirements to be vaccinated against COVID.
The mandate was initially rolled out on Dec. 18, with Mayor Eric Garcetti previously saying that those who refused to follow it “should be prepared to lose their job.”
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the fired employees include twelve workers from the Los Angeles Fire Department, along with members of the city attorney’s office, Los Angeles Police Department, parks department, and Los Angeles World Airports.
Last week’s terminations also came alongside formal warnings of possible discipline for an additional 53 L.A. city employees. According to personnel department spokesperson Bruce Whidden, seven employees from the LAPD are also facing a disciplinary panel for violating the mandate.
Of the city’s 57,000 employees, 5,000 are currently subject to disciplinary action and possible termination.
Since the requirement was put in place in December, the city has faced an array of legal disputes with several groups of firefighters and LAPD employees seeking to stop the vaccine mandate.
The firefighters’ case was dismissed, with Judge Michael P. Linfield writing that “courts have consistently held that government has the power to require vaccinations to protect the public’s health and safety.” He added that cases such as a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed for vaccination mandates under the Constitution.
City employees are allowed to file for medical or religious exemption in order to avoid penalties for noncompliance, but more than 5,200 requests currently await action and only 400 have been approved or denied.
The terminations follow recent rollbacks of several other pandemic-related requirements in Los Angeles. Early this month, L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez also proposed ending to the vaccinate mandate, a move that would ease requirements for indoor establishments and outdoor events.
According to the county department of Public Health, the requirement will be lifted on April 1 in alignment with the state, which also plans to end the mandate.
Councilman Joe Buscaino also called for a rollback to vaccination requirements, specifically for city workers.
“In the ever-changing climate that the COVID-19 pandemic presents to us, it is vital that we frequently review and re-assess the emergency measures that we put into effect,” Buscaino said in a March 9 statement. “Those that are no longer benefiting the City, and in fact—may be posing a detriment—need to be reconsidered and ultimately lifted.”
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