574 LA County firefighters sue over COVID-19 vaccine mandate; allege privacy rights violation
A group of nearly 600 Los Angeles County firefighters filed a lawsuit against the county Wednesday over its requirement that county employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges the county’s mandate violates the firefighters’ constitutionally protected autonomous privacy rights and was filed on behalf of LA County Free Foundation, a nonprofit organization representing 574 firefighters as well as other department employees.
A representative for the county could not be immediately reached.
The county’s vaccination directive was issued on Oct. 1. Among other things, the policy requires non-vaccinated employees to receive a coronavirus shot within 45 days of receiving a written notice of immunization requirement. Non-compliant employees will face staged disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
“Entirely overlooked in the county vaccination order and vaccination policy is the constitutional right to autonomous privacy that must be afforded to firefighters in any legislative initiative that would intrude on these privacy rights,” the suit states.
“The county Board of Supervisors has failed to consider and account for this constitutional right in the process of adopting its county vaccination order and vaccination policy.”
The suit seeks court orders that both prohibit enforcement of the county vaccination order against any firefighter and also direct the county to offer reasonable accommodations to firefighters so they can continue working without being immunized.
The suit also asks that a judge direct that there be no discrimination or retaliation against those firefighters who do not get vaccinated.