San Diego Police Officers Association

San Diego Police Officers Association Dropping Lawsuit Against City Over Vaccine Mandate

Last week, the city said it was allowing mandate exemptions to hundreds of officers and firefighters, partly because the entire city workforce of nearly 11,000 employees reached the 90% vaccination threshold, according to Mayor Todd Gloria

Generic SDPD Cruiser in downtown San Diego
NBC 7

The San Diego Police Officers Association is dropping its lawsuit challenging the city's COVID vaccine mandate for employees.

The attorney for the POA filed paperwork to dismiss the case Tuesday, nine days after the city approved hundreds of personal exemptions for first responders and other city workers.

Last Monday, Mayor Todd Gloria announced exemptions were granted to 791 city employees. The city's lenience was due in part to its entire workforce of around 11,000 employees reaching the 90% vaccination threshold, according to Gloria.

Approximately 790 employees will approved for vaccine accommodations and will be required to get tested weekly, reports NBC 7's Artie Ojeda.

City data showing how many employees across several unions were given exemptions listed the POA at the top with 324, as of March 22 (NBC 7 reached out to the city Wednesday for an update on these figures).

  • Police Officers Association – 324
  • Municipal Employees Association – 261
  • Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 127 – 98
  • San Diego City Firefighters Local 145 – 77
  • Unrepresented/Unclassified – 15
  • Teamsters Local 911 – 14
  • U.S. Defense Contract Audit Agency – 2

Religious exemptions were granted to 772 city employees, 19 were granted medical exemptions and 15 requests were denied as of March 22, according to the city.

Exempt employees will be required to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. At-home test kits will be provided by the state free of charge, another factor in granting the exemptions, according to Gloria.

A city spokesperson offered details on how the evaluation process for exemption requests.

“For the medical exemption requests, employees were required to provide documentation from a health care provider confirming their disability-based need for reasonable accommodation and medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Requests were reviewed in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

For the religious exemption requests, all information provided by employees in conjunction with and in support of their requests was reviewed and evaluated in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and the guidance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing pertaining to religious accommodations,” Nicole Darling, Communications Department Director for the City of San Diego, told NBC 7.

The city was still in the process of reviewing 200 more exemption requests as of March 22. Those who’ve been granted an exemption but refuse to submit to a weekly test face possible termination.

Two other lawsuits were filed against the city over the vaccine mandate, according to the Office of the City Attorney -- The Protection for the Educational Rights of Kids filed a civil suit in San Diego Superior Court and ReOpen San Diego filed a complaint in federal court.

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