by Government of BC

City employees will soon be given the boot for refusing to get vaccinated and tested for COVID-19. 

The news was confirmed this week by city officials, reporting that a Advance Notice of Termination has been issued directly to three dozen employees who fall under the anti-vaccination and test-refusal category. 

The employees who refused to receive their vaccination dose say that this requirement goes against their religion, with half of them being part of the San Diego Police Department. 

According to a letter template obtained by KPBS through a Public Record Act, the letter template sent to the employees state the following: “This is to notify you that I am recommending to the Department Director that your employment with the City of San Diego as a (Employee’s Position) in the (Department Name) Department (add Division Name, if applicable) be terminated.” 

However, this letter isn't the end of the process. 

The letter is mainly a firing recommendation to the department head, which the employee can certainly appeal to before the city makes the final decision. 

“Before this Termination takes effect, you may respond to the charges and this recommended action,” the letter states. “You have the right to be represented and may respond either verbally or in writing to (Name, Title), within 10 working days of your receipt of this notice. Failure to respond by that time will be deemed a forfeiture of your opportunity to respond.”

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria spoke to KPBS about this process, including the fact that a significant percentage of those employees are police officers. 

“I think we have been exceedingly patient with these folks, we have worked on this on an individual basis to understand where they're at and what the concerns are,” Todd Gloria said. “To the extent that individuals can be out of compliance and continue to work, that is not ideal. But we will follow our due process for these individuals and hope, as the vast majority of them have, that they'll come into compliance.”

The Mayor also emphasized that aside from the firing process taking place, they are, and will continue, to hire city workers who will cooperate with compliance in a professional setting. 

“If folks continue to resist being compliant with our adopted vaccine mandate, we will have to terminate their employment with the city, and that would be regrettable,” he added. “We need qualified professional folks to work at the city. We're recruiting folks. We're hiring currently. We would like to have more people coming to work here, and one of the ways to do that is to keep the people that you have.”

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