A group representing about 1,850 sworn and non-sworn members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has filed a legal action challenging a requirement that they register their coronavirus vaccination status with a genetics laboratory or face possible discipline.
The Los Angeles Sheriffs’ Professional Association brought the petition Tuesday against Los Angeles County, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the LASD. Two association members, Deputy Garrett Rifkin and non-sworn LASD employee Jeremi Williams, are co-petitioners in the case.
“The conduct of the (respondents) constitutes a serious invasion of privacy,” according to the Los Angeles Superior Court petition, which further states that forced disclosure of the information to Fulgent Genetics violates the state Penal and Vehicle codes.
The petitioners are asking a judge to deem confidential the personal information and vaccination status of the association members and that employees like Rifkin and Williams who have yet to register with Fulgent will not be punished. Fulgent partners with city and county governments to provide coronavirus testing.
On Oct. 8, Villanueva said the department will seek only voluntary compliance and testing for the unvaccinated, but will continue requiring all of employees to register with the Fulgent system, the petition states. Six days later, all LASD employees received an email stating in part, “All LASD employees shall immediately register with the Fulgent system, this is an order. Failure to register can result in further departmental action being taken,” according to the petition.
Association members will suffer irreparable injury and damage if forced to provide confidential peace officer personnel information to a third- party corporation because it would violate the constitutional and statutory protection of peace officers in the confidentiality of their peace officer personnel records, the petition states.
“Compelling deputies to disclose their home addresses, dates of birth and vaccination status is per se the disclosure of confidential peace officer personnel information,” according to the petition.