LA Supervisors Lack Authority to Discipline Unvaccinated County Employees: Lawsuit

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
December 7, 2021 Updated: December 7, 2021

LOS ANGELES—The union representing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies is asking a judge to declare that the Board of Supervisors does not have the legal authority to suspend or fire deputies for noncompliance with the county’s mandatory vaccination order.

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs sued Los Angeles County on Dec. 3, also seeking an award of attorneys’ fees and costs associated with bringing the case to court.

A representative for the county could not be immediately reached for comment on the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint.

On Aug. 4, the Board of Supervisors established a mandatory vaccination policy requiring all county employees, including those employed by the sheriff’s department, to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The board maintains it has the legal authority to subject those failing to comply to disciplinary action, including being fired.

But according to the union’s suit, that disciplinary power rests exclusively with the sheriff and the current holder of that office, Alex Villanueva, has said he will not enforce the county’s vaccination policy due to the adverse impact on his ability to ensure public safety.

“Thus, the parties are in fundamental disagreement as to whether the county, acting through its Board of Supervisors, may impose disciplinary action on department employees,” the suit states.