Los Angeles City Council Ends COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for City Workers

City workers who were terminated or resigned voluntarily due to the vaccination requirement will be able to reapply for their jobs.
Los Angeles City Council Ends COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for City Workers
A COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a person in Los Angeles on Jan. 29, 2022. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Aldgra Fredly
The Los Angeles City Council ended the city’s policy requiring municipal employees to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus on Tuesday, in a 13-0 vote.

The ruling allows city workers to reapply for their jobs if they were fired or quit due to the vaccination requirement. Two council members were absent during the vote.

During the public comment section of the council meeting, attorney Jennifer Kennedy said it was time to end the city’s “cruel mandate” that had resulted in the termination of many city workers.

“You stripped careers and commands from your LAPD officers and your LAFD firefighters,” said Ms. Kennedy, who said she represents hundreds of city workers. “You stole the livelihood of these dedicated public servants and you put your citizens in danger.”

Janine Bedard, a former sergeant with the LAPD, told the council meeting that she lost her job after serving 24 years in the department due to her refusal to be vaccinated.

“I was advised a new condition of employment was that I needed to be vaccinated,” Ms. Bedard said. “I was shamed and told I was a public health risk and I could not complete my duties as a sergeant if I was not vaccinated. I’m here today to request that you finally rescind the vaccine mandate.”

Council President Paul Krekorian and council member Traci Park introduced the motion last October instructing the City Administrative Officer to report on “the feasibility, impacts and timeline” of repealing the vaccination mandate for current and future city employees.
In 2021, a group of six LAPD officers filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles over the city’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for city workers, arguing that the policy violated their constitutional rights.

“The United States Supreme Court has explained that invasive medical testing, injections, and other bodily intrusions constitute a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment,“ the suit reads. ”The Constitution protects a person’s right to refuse unwanted medical care.”

In April last year, Los Angeles County ended its vaccination requirement for existing and new county employees, which followed a prior related action by the LA County Board of Supervisors to end vaccination requirements for certain contractors.

The Biden administration ended its COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federal employees and contractors in May 2023, citing a 98 percent compliance rate among its federal workforce, as well as a significant decline in hospitalizations and fatalities.

The City News Service contributed to this report.