LA School District Staff Sue Over Mandatory Vaccination Policy

By Author:
2,686 0
A vaccine site worker uses a tablet to check-in Los Angeles Unified School District staff to receive vaccinations at a vaccination site, which is part of a plan from the LAUSD and the State of California. Staff sued the LAUSD after language from the District’s Human Resources Department and the union both made it clear the district had established a mandatory vaccination policy as a condition of employment.

A lawsuit has been filed against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) over a mandatory vaccination policy requiring all employees to receive a jab for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and to submit evidence of it in the School District’s DailyPass vaccine and testing passport system implemented for all students and teachers. 

The suit was filed on March 17 by California Educators for Medical Freedom and several teachers and staff members working in Los Angeles schools against the LAUSD, after Chief Human Resources Operator Linda Del Cueto began sending information on vaccination for LAUSD employees in early March. 

“All employees are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination doses and will be notified to make an appointment through the District’s vaccination program when it is their turn to get vaccinated. Employees who do not participate in the District vaccination program may submit proof of vaccination from an external medical provider through the LAUSD Daily Pass,” says an Interoffice Correspondence from Del Cueto’s department, which was provided as an Exhibit in the filings. 

LAUSD mandatory vaccination policy not ambiguous

The Vaccination Guidance for Employees and Vaccination Guidance for Supervisors both state “You will provide proof of vaccination via the DailyPass for time reporting purposes.” 

A separate Exhibit consists of a campaign email sent through Constant Contact, underwritten from Teamsters Local 572 Union President Lourdes Garcia and Secretary-Treasurer Rick Middleton, which says “Although it appears the law is on the District’s side regarding mandatory vaccinations, we are urging the District to make COVID vaccines voluntary for District employees.”

We asked the District why they didn’t first offer vaccinations to those employees who want to be vaccinated, making it voluntary. They responded by noting that they want all employees vaccinated because a single person who is unvaccinated can pose a threat to everyone at their worksite

Teamsters 572, the LAUSD Techers’ Union, on the mandatory vaccination policy

The Exhibit further clarifies the LAUSD’s mandatory vaccination policy in a question and answer section of the Teamsters 572 email, “All District employees will be required to be vaccinated. No exceptions have been made and no agreements have been reached with any other bargaining units.”

Teamsters 572 clarified that the District will distribute the Moderna mRNA vaccine. For employees who suffer adverse effects from the jab, “The District believes that Workers Comp Leave is the most appropriate benefit time to be used for adverse reactions.”

As for exemptions, the union’s Q&A said, “an employee who requests an exemption will have to state a basis for the exemption and go through the reasonable accommodation process and demonstrate that they will not ‘pose a direct threat at the worksite.’ This means you will have to demonstrate how your work can be performed from home, a remote location, or at a time when you do not pose a direct threat.”

“If the District is unable to accommodate you without an undue burden to the District, you may be barred from the worksite. This means you will not be working if your work can ONLY be performed at the worksite, and you are not allowed to enter.”

The union also said in their email, “We pointedly asked the District why they are rushing to have employees vaccinated. Their answer was so that we can get back to normal as quickly as possible.” 

Austin Beutner, Superintendent of the LAUSD and a Defendant in the lawsuit, speaks during a press conference as education workers including teachers and support staff receive vaccinations at a mass vaccination site in a parking lot at Hollywood Park adjacent to SoFi stadium on March 1, 2021 in Inglewood, California. The District was sued after it was clarified to staff by District Human Resources and the teachers’ union vaccination would be a condition of employment.
Austin Beutner, Superintendent of the LAUSD and a Defendant in the lawsuit, speaks during a press conference as education workers including teachers and support staff receive vaccinations at a mass vaccination site in a parking lot at Hollywood Park adjacent to SoFi stadium on March 1, 2021 in Inglewood, California. The District was sued after it was clarified to staff by District Human Resources and the teachers’ union vaccination would be a condition of employment. (Image: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

“We asked the District why they didn’t first offer vaccinations to those employees who want to be vaccinated, making it voluntary. They responded by noting that they want all employees vaccinated because a single person who is unvaccinated can pose a threat to everyone at their worksite,” said the teachers’ union.

The pleadings in the court filing allege that staff were verbally told by Del Cueto that failure to take the vaccination would result in disciplinary action, “Defendant Del Cueto made a verbal statement in the presence of Plaintiff Quintero to the effect that the vaccine is mandatory, and that any refusal by an employee to get vaccinated will trigger disciplinary action.”

In the filings, the Plaintiffs argue that the vaccines have not been approved for sale in the United States and are only available under a FDA Emergency Use Authorization, which prohibits vaccination without the patient’s consent. In light of that, they state that staff “have a universally recognized, fundamental right to be free from human medical experimentation.”

Clarifying their position further, they state “Because Defendants have indicated that administration of the COVID Vaccine will be a condition of their ongoing employment, Plaintiffs are uncertain of their rights, and seek declaratory relief in order to have clarity as to their rights.”

“A real and concrete controversy exists between” the LAUSD and their staff, say the pleadings, continuing that the LAUSD “contend that they have the right, power and authority to require involuntary vaccination as a condition of continuing employment at a public, governmental agency,” while the staff “contend that they have the right under international treaties and protocols, the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and the Constitution and laws of the State of California to refuse vaccination without discipline or impairment of their employment status with LAUSD.”

Plaintiffs in the case seek an injunction preventing mandatory vaccination as a condition of their employment, and only legal costs and fees under statutory entitlement. They are not seeking any punitive damages or cash settlements in the case. 

The LAUSD has not yet filed a defense to the lawsuit or a motion to dismiss.

Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our email list