LOS ANGELES – The union representing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies has filed a second legal action in its dispute with the Board of Supervisors concerning who has legal authority to suspend or fire deputies for noncompliance with the county’s mandatory coronavirus vaccination order.
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs originally sued Los Angeles County on Dec. 3 regarding the board’s establishment last August of a mandatory vaccination policy requiring all county workers, including those employed by the sheriff’s department, to be fully vaccinated. 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 Los Angeles Superior Court suit, that disciplinary power rests exclusively with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has said he will not enforce the county’s mandate due to the adverse impact on his ability to ensure public safety.
The first suit is still pending trial. While declining to comment on the court action, a representative for the county previously said extensive steps have been taken during the pandemic “to keep the public and employees safe and the vaccination policy is an essential public health measure intended to protect employees and the public we serve.”
On Friday, ALADS filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that after the filing of the union’s first case, the county then began the process of amending its local law to give its personnel director the authority to discipline ALADS members for alleged non-compliance with the mandatory vaccination policy.
“The county, however, has failed and refused to exhaust the bargaining process as required by the (state Government Code) and has taken action to unilaterally implement its proposed amendments to local law,” the petition states.
The union, which also has filed a complaint with the county’s Employee Relations Commission, alleges in the new legal action that the county has violated its duty under local collective bargaining law by adopting the amendment on April 5. ALADS is asking a judge to maintain the status quo until the bargaining process is complete.