Lawsuit with gavel, pen and paper

Some 200 City of Gainesville employees and contractors filed a lawsuit against the city Thursday. 

A lawsuit by more than 200 City of Gainesville employees and contractors alleges that the city’s vaccine mandate violates state and federal law, according to a release by Childers Law who filed the lawsuit Thursday evening on the employee’s behalf.

“Just a few months ago, the city called these employees heroes while they were showing up every day and keeping the water, power, and emergency services running,” Attorney Jeff Childers said in the press release. “Now the city calls them the problem.”

The vaccine mandate was part of a series of COVID-related proposals that Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos brought to the Gainesville commission on Aug. 6.

The commission passed the measures 4-3 with Commissioners Desmon Duncan-Walker, Gail Johnson and Harvey Ward in dissent.

In a phone interview with Mainstreet Daily News earlier that week, Hayes-Santos said that the spike in the community spread of the virus had prompted him to recommend the actions.

At the beginning of the night, the vaccine mandate looked headed for defeat until Commissioner Reina Saco changed her mind during the course of the discussion

“I don’t think it is my job to force you to get a vaccine,” Saco said early in the discussion. “All I can do is beg you to have some common sense and care about yourself.”

However, following a long set of public commentators about the COVID measures, many of whom made unsubstantiated claims about the vaccines and their effectiveness, Saco changed her mind.

Two weeks later, the commission extended the deadline for employees to submit proof of their first vaccination to Oct. 1 and added city contractors to the mandate.

Now, 200 employees and contractors―including firefighters, police officers, electrical workers, and other city personnel―are suing.

The press release listed two principal reasons.

First, the city mandate violates state law that prohibits government agencies from restricting access to facilities or services based on vaccination status.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 2006 into law on May 3. The law also includes companies and educational institutions.

Second, the release said Gainesville’s mandate violates an employee's right to privacy and bodily integrity under state and federal constitutions.

Currently, no hearing is set.

(6) comments

Guest

These have to be the most selfish people. They would have no issue getting a tetanus "shot" since its only a "shot" and are to ignorant of science and blinded by a fanatical devotion to the orange man. What about our rights to be free of this scourge..? All employees deserve a safe work environment, and those dont comply should be discharged accordingly.

Guest

Do you need to have any other vaccinations in your medical records for employment or education? This isn’t anything new, last I checked when you don’t want to follow a job procedure you either risk being fired or need to quit. This is not a liberty issue, this is a national health issue. You are in the minority for a reason, please stop being so selfish and protect your family and neighbors by finally getting vaccinated.

Guest

Thanks for your service. Bye bye.

Guest

Um, when you give up one civil right, then you've basically paved the way for the rest to be taken away.

Guest

Wait: are you aware what is ALREADY happening with voting rights? Perhaps you should follow the news...This is about your :right" to spread a lethal virus..

Guest

What is easier? Get a jab, or pay a lawyer for a piece of paper in a court case that will not help anyone, but which you might be able to wave around in the air?

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