LA County sheriff's employees challenge vaccine-registration mandate

 AUGUST 21: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks at the graduation ceremony for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Academy Class 451 at East Los Angeles College amid the COVID-19 pandemic on August 21, 2020 in Monterey Park, California.
AUGUST 21: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks at the graduation ceremony for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Academy Class 451 at East Los Angeles College amid the COVID-19 pandemic on August 21, 2020 in Monterey Park, California. Photo credit Mario Tama/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A group representing about 1,850 sworn and non-sworn members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has filed a legal action challenging a requirement that they register their coronavirus vaccination status with a genetics laboratory or face possible discipline.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Professional Association brought the petition this week against Los Angeles County, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Sheriff’s Department. Two association members, Deputy Garrett Rifkin and non-sworn employee Jeremi Williams, are co-petitioners.

“The conduct of the (respondents) constitutes a serious invasion of privacy,” according to the Los Angeles Superior Court petition, which further states that forced disclosure of the information to Fulgent Genetics violates the state penal and vehicle codes.

The petitioners are asking a judge to deem confidential the personal information and vaccination status of the association members and to ensure employees such as Rifkin and Williams, who have yet to register with Fulgent, not be punished. Fulgent partners with city and county governments to provide coronavirus testing.

On Oct. 8, Villanueva said the department will seek only voluntary compliance and testing for the unvaccinated, but will continue requiring all of employees to register with the Fulgent system, the petition states.

Six days later, all LASD employees received an email stating, in part, “All LASD employees shall immediately register with the Fulgent system, this is an order. Failure to register can result in further departmental action being taken,” according to the petition.

“Compelling deputies to disclose their home addresses, dates of birth and vaccination status is per se the disclosure of confidential peace officer personnel information,” according to the petition.

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