LA County: Sheriff’s Employees to Receive Notices to Comply With Vaccine Mandate

By Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin
November 15, 2021 Updated: November 15, 2021

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employees who have not registered as fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or who have exemptions, are included among those who are expected to receive noncompliance notices, the county has confirmed.

“Sheriff’s Department employees are considered County employees,” Los Angeles County spokesman Michael Wilson told The Epoch Times by email.

Los Angeles County has issued notices in batches to all employees who have not yet registered their vaccine status with the county.

The deadline, set by executive order from the Board of Supervisors, was Oct. 1.

“We do not have specific information regarding the Sheriff’s Department notices,” said Wilson.

Employees who receive a notice are told they must register and begin COVID-19 testing within five days or face discipline that includes suspension, Wilson said.

Employees who haven’t complied with the vaccine policy within 45 days of receiving the notice will get a five-day suspension. They will have 30 days after they return from the suspension to come into compliance.

The sheriff’s information bureau wasn’t aware of whether any employees had received a notice by Nov. 12.

“At this time, we are unaware of employees who have received notices,” the sheriff’s department information bureau told The Epoch Times in an email on Nov. 12. “Due to pending litigation by employee labor unions, we are unable to further comment at this time.”

In one pending lawsuit, five county employees, including two from the sheriff’s department, sued the county in Los Angeles Superior Court in early October, claiming the county’s vaccine mandate was unconstitutional.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, an outspoken critic of the vaccine mandate, has said he could lose up to one-third of his sworn staff to the mandate.

On Nov. 2, the sheriff’s department reported that 52 percent of its staff was fully vaccinated. At that time, Villanueva said that 4,185 sworn and professional employees could be terminated because of the vaccine mandate.

However, he told constituents on Nov. 3, during a Facebook Live session that the county lacked the authority to terminate his employees.

A viewer asked Villanueva whether the Board of Supervisors had the authority to fire his deputies over the vaccine mandate.

“No, they cannot. They cannot legally do that,” Villanueva told the viewer. “That’s my responsibility. I mean, they’re going to try to do some cute stuff, trust me. However, the point is, this is all political posturing, and it’s not based on anything that is going to benefit the public.”

County Supervisor Kathryn Barger told The Epoch Times in an email on Nov. 12 that supervisors were encouraged that more than 80 percent of Los Angeles County’s employees have provided proof of full or partial vaccinations.

“My hope is that all County department leaders, including the Sheriff, encourage their employees to get vaccinated to both protect workers and the public we serve,” Barger said.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Michel Moore has cooperated with the vaccine mandate rollout and has required his department to be fully vaccinated.

The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 2,600 LAPD officers so far have claimed to be exempt for medical or religious reasons. Some officers have filed lawsuits challenging the mandate.

A state Superior Court judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order on Nov. 10 filed by the Los Angeles police union to block the city’s vaccine mandate.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis issued an executive order on Aug. 4 requiring the county’s 110,000 employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1, with exemptions for medical and religious reasons.