Florida fines county $3.5M for violating vaccine mandate ban
Leon County, which incorporates the capital of Tallahassee, balked on the $3.5 million high-quality, claiming its vaccination requirement and subsequent firing of 14 staff have been authorized and accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of being political.
“The governor’s place on this occasion, sadly, seems to be much less of a public well being technique and extra about political technique,” Leon County Administrator Vincent Lengthy stated.
DeSantis stated Tuesday, “Nobody ought to lose their job due to COVID pictures,” whereas saying the high-quality on Twitter. “We should defend the roles of Floridians and protect the power of Floridians to make their very own selections relating to what pictures to take.”
The state stated the county had violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” legislation, which prohibits companies and governments from requiring individuals to indicate proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
“These are people who, presumably, have been serving all through this entire time and now swiftly they’re mainly getting kicked to the curb,” DeSantis stated in a information convention concerning the fired staff.
The legislation may end up in $5,000 per violation.
“It’s unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida legislation, infringed on present and former staff’ medical privateness, and fired loyal public servants due to their private well being selections,” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske stated in a launch. “Governor DeSantis will proceed preventing for Floridians’ rights and the Florida Division of Well being will proceed to implement the legislation.”
President Biden introduced a federal vaccine mandate final month for companies with greater than 100 staff, which hasn’t gone into impact but and the Florida legislation is being challenged in court docket.
“We don’t want the state bullying our communities or personal companies who’re merely making an attempt to serve the individuals and get on the opposite facet of this pandemic,” Democratic state Sen. Loranne Ausley stated.
The state is investigating dozens of native governments and companies for potential violations of the legislation, in response to the Orlando Sentinel.
“Firing hard-working staff over vaccine passports has actual and lasting penalties,” Surgeon Normal Dr. Joseph Ladapo stated in an announcement. “It results in resentment within the office, and lack of employment impacts particular person and public well being. People have each proper to decide on learn how to greatest defend themselves and their households, and the Division will proceed to implement this legislation.”
The Related Press contributed to this report.