On Wednesday, it was reported that Doña Ana County Detention Center officer, Isaac Legaretta, sued Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias and his supervisor on Sunday, claiming they threatened he would be fired if he did not take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The complaint claims the county manager and supervisor violated his rights by making the vaccine a condition of employment for first responders unless reasonable accommodation has been approved,” according to The Hill
According to a memo from the county manager, “It is required that, if you have not already started your vaccinations, that you be vaccinated with your first dose on one of those days, or contact Human Resources for accommodation…. Being vaccinated is a requirement and a condition of on-going employment with the County due to the significant health and safety risks posed by contracting or spreading COVID-19.”
Macias first announced the vaccine mandate on January 29 for all first responders–including police officers, detention center workers, and anyone in contact with detainees.
“You can’t be forced to be a human guinea pig when a product is experimental,” said Ana Garner, the officer’s attorney. “We have the right to bodily integrity.”
“Garner said Legaretta wasn’t told about the vaccine’s known benefits and risks, or that he had the opportunity to refuse,” according to another report.
The county attorney has reportedly disputed the allegations and argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) assert that employers can mandate vaccinations.
However, in March 2020, the EEOC said an employer covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII can’t compel all of its employees to take a vaccine. ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would allow for employee vaccination exemptions under certain health and religious reasons.