113 L.A. firefighters removed from duty without pay over vaccination mandate

A Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) firefighter receives a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination.
A Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) firefighter receives a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. Photo credit Mario Tama/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A total of 113 Los Angeles city firefighters have been removed from duty without pay for failing to meet the city's COVID-19 vaccination mandate for municipal employees, the department announced Monday.

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The policy requires municipal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 18, and those who are not vaccinated in the meantime must submit to testing paid by the employee.

In November, the department sent 222 notices to department personnel who had not yet submitted their vaccination status or requested an exemption.

The notices warned of the consequences of violating the mandate, and as of Monday, 113 firefighters were placed on leave without pay. The number of firefighters who are off-duty changes daily due to members updating their vaccination and testing status, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department's
Cheryl Getuiza.

Firefighters who continue to resist the vaccination mandate “will be entered into the process for termination of their employment, as outlined in the City Charter,” Getuiza said.

As of Monday, 83% of the department's 3,732 employees have been vaccinated, and 321 unvaccinated personnel have filed for an exemption.

Under the mandate, unvaccinated employees have to submit to two COVID-19 tests per week until the Dec. 18 vaccination deadline, and $65 per test will be deducted from their paychecks. Exemptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case
basis, and if an employee's exemption is approved, testing will be conducted once per week at the city's expense.

If an exemption request is denied, the employee will have five
business days to file an appeal, according to the requirement. If they do not appeal the decision, they will be issued a notice that they must submit proof of vaccination. Failure to do so would result in ``corrective action.''

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