Federal judge dismisses LAPD employees lawsuit against Covid-19 vaccine mandate



Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved an ordinance in August requiring all city employees to be vaccinated by October. Exceptions to the mandate included those with a medical or religious exemption, but those employees would still be subject to weekly Covid-19 testing, according to court documents.

In an opinion filed Friday, Judge R. Gary Klausner sided with the city’s request to dismiss the suit and agreed that vaccine-related mandates for government employees were reasonable methods to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The Supreme Court has long rejected a fundamental right to refuse vaccination,” the judge wrote. “There is also no fundamental right to continued governmental employment.”

The lawsuit was filed in September by a group of LAPD officers and staff against the city of Los Angeles, Garcetti, LAPD Chief Michael Moore and city administrative officer Matthew Szabo.

The employees claimed, in part, that vaccine and testing requirements violated their Fourth Amendment rights to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as the right to due process. The complaint also said the mandate violated California Constitution’s “right to privacy” provision because “it forces the Plaintiffs to disclose their private medical information” and “Forces them to receive unwanted medical treatment.”

CNN has reached out to the lawyers representing the LAPD employees for comment on the lawsuit’s dismissal.

In his written order, Klausner rejected the idea that swabs associated with Covid-19 tests are unreasonable, describing them as negligible intrusions.

“Considering Plaintiffs are entrusted with public safety and have contractually consented to searches that are more invasive than those required by COVID tests, Plaintiffs undoubtedly have a reduced privacy interest here,” Klausner wrote, referring to random drug tests that are a condition of their employment.

The judge did leave the door open for the LAPD employees to provide him proof by January 14 that they have been religiously discriminated against due to the city’s vaccination rules, but noted no such proof existed in the filed lawsuit.

“While Plaintiffs allege that they have submitted requests for religious exemptions, at no point … do they state that those requests have been denied or are likely to be denied,” Klausner wrote.

Mike Feuer, Los Angeles city attorney, issued a statement praising the judge’s decision saying “with the Omicron variant raging, this victory for public health and safety … comes at an especially crucial time.”

CNN’s Sarah Moon and Anna-Maja Rappard contributed to this report.



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