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COVID: 20 San Francisco City Employees Suspended for Not Disclosing Vaccination Status

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- City employees were given an August 12 deadline to report their vaccination status. According to San Francisco officials, as of Friday, 20 workers still have not.

They could face punishments ranging from suspension all the way up to termination from the city payroll.

"We have required at this time that everyone at least reports what their vaccination status is. We're talking about a very small number of people that have been suspended. We have been prepared for that," Mayor London Breed said when asked about the policy with city workers Friday.

"So we're not concerned about first responders but we are not going to deviate from our requirement that every city employee is vaccinated," she added. "Because not only does it impact the people they work with, but it also impacts the public that they work with."

Professor Dorit Reiss of UC Hastings says the city is acting as both a public health authority and an employer and that the suspensions would be totally legal.

"Suspending an employee who does not comply with workplace conditions is pretty routine. It's pretty regular," Professor Reiss told KPIX 5.

Among the 20 who hadn't reported their status yet, eight are members of the SFPD. Two are sworn officers while the remaining six are civilian employees.

The city's vaccine mandate is stringent, and city employees must be fully vaccinated.

In a statement, SFPOA President Tony Montoya said: "We are extremely disappointed that, up to this point, the City has refused to provide the option of requiring proof of vaccination or weekly testing, similar to what the the State of California and the Federal Government are mandating for their employees."

With the New York Times reporting that the FDA is likely to give full approval to the Pfizer vaccine early next week, Professor Reiss says arguments about mandating vaccination under an emergency use authorization will disappear. The City and County of San Francisco will only have to meet a "reasonableness" standard from a 1905 case in court.

"The city has to convince a judge that the demand is reasonable. With Delta running through our population, with cases rising with hospitalization and death, the city probably has pretty strong ground to say we're doing what we can to stop this disease and mandating vaccines for our workers is a reasonable step," said Reiss.

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