San Diego

County Employees File Complaint Accusing County of Failing to Follow Safety Policies

"Despite a new security policy written in response to the San Bernardino massacre, San Diego County did not follow its own procedures," said Ward

San Diego County employees have filed a complaint accusing the county of failing to protect its workers from gun violence safety threats.

The staff protested the county's alleged safety violations outside the North Inland Live Will Center Thursday morning.

“In a lot of our other facilities we’ve had incidents where we had shootings outside and victims running into the building," said Linda Correa, an employee who has worked for the county for over 20 years.

“It’s time for the county to take action now and not wait until the last minute when something more serious happens," Correa added.

Employees for North Inland Live Well Center said the county has violated its own policy and California Labor Codes. Over the past several months, there have been at least four incidents of gun violence threats directed at the facility, stated the complaint.

Members of the public entered the facility and made threats of gun violence against employees, but the county has not taken action, according to the complaint.

In response to the complaint, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency released a statement emphasizing that safety is a top priority at the facilities.

"I want to reiterate that we take employee safety concerns very seriously, and have procedures in place to investigate and respond to matters when they come up," said Craig Sturak, a county spokesperson. 

The county allegedly failed to tell employees about safety threat incidents, failed to clearly designate all safety roles, failed to seriously investigate, failed to call the police and failed to follow-up with employees, said Adam Ward, a spokesman for the county employees.

"The employer has failed to comply with both its own adopted safety policies and California Labor Code Section 6400," reads the complaint.

Sturak said the county facility has many on-site security guards that work to keep the staff and the public safe. 

But employees said this not the case. One of the employees' proposals to improve public safety is the addition of an armed security guard to the facility. Correa said the county rejected this proposal.

“All lives matter. All lives are important. And our safety should be our number one concern now. Times have changed. Since San Bernardino we’ve seen more gun violence in our communities," said Correa.

When management was asked about safety issues, they did not know what their safety policy was, said Correa. They did not know who was responsible for handling the safety issues at the workplace.

"Despite a new security policy written in response to the San Bernardino massacre, San Diego County did not follow its own procedures," said Ward.

There are about 300 county employees working at the North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido, according to county employees. The workplace is visited by thousands of San Diegans each week.

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