I am sure that all of our NOPD membership has heard about CAO Policy Memo No. 146 mandating vaccinations. The policy was initially set to become effective on August 30 and that was changed to September 20 due to Hurricane Ida. I have been in communication with City Hall on this matter in order to address problems with the policy. Implementation of CAO Policy Memo No. 146 has been postponed to October 18 so that these issues can be resolved.
Here are some of the issues raised on behalf of FOP members:
- The policy did not give employees who wanted to become fully vaccinated in order to comply with policy time to do so.
- If an employee was not vaccinated, that employee would have to get tested twice a week.
- The policy did not address the cost of testing.
- The policy did not address when you are supposed to get tested.
- The policy did not address what happened if you were not vaccinated and did not have the negative tests.
I am not going to get deep into the issues above, but sending people home without pay is a suspension and is appealable to the Civil Service Commission. There is a state law that says an employer cannot saddle an employee with the cost of medical tests. Also, the FLSA makes the time spent getting tested off duty compensable time.
I think it is important to say that this policy will be effective soon. There is no real chance that anyone will intervene in the implementation of this policy. Courts have upheld vaccination mandates.
We will continue working on these and other issues so that we can make the workplace as safe as possible while protecting the rights of FOP members. If you have begun the vaccination process, now is a good time to get that finished so that you won’t have to worry about getting negative test results on a regular basis. There is no reason to believe this policy will not be in place on October 18, 2021.