The following only applies to employees of the New Orleans Police Department.
After much back and forth with the City Administration, CAO Policy Memo 146 goes into effect today, October 18, 2021, for employees of the City of New Orleans. CAO Policy Memo 146 requires all employees to show proof of total vaccination (14 days after 2nd shot or 1 shot vaccine) or a negative test result. Employees without proof of vaccination on file with their HR person will have to present one (1) negative test per week to enter a City worksite. This constitutes a reduction from the initial policy that required 2 negative tests per week.
Employees of the New Orleans Police Department should familiarize themselves with the current version of Special Order 2-2021. SO 2-2021 outlines the specific procedures for NOPD employees as it relates to CAO Policy Memo 146.
There is a list of testing sites, including free testing sites at https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/testing/?utm_source=NOLAReady&utm_medium=banner. There are more COVID-19 resources available at ready.NOLA.gov.
If you are an NOPD employee who has to get tested weekly, please keep a detailed record of the following:
- Keep a log of any and all time expended getting tested, if that testing is not during regular working hours. In other words, if you aren’t being carried regular working by your regular assignment when you leave to get tested, then you need to record the hours you spent getting tested. If you are leaving from home, start the time when you leave your home and end it when you return home. If you are leaving from or going to somewhere else, count the driving time to the testing site and end it when you are done with the testing.
- Keep a log and receipts of any and all monetary expenses associated with testing.
For now, the city employees getting tested weekly should keep the log of time and expenses in case we need it later for legal actions. If you don’t keep these records it could exclude you from benefitting later.
Please contact me about these records in New Orleans and I will be happy to discuss it further. We will be taking the necessary actions on behalf of our members to protect our members. These records will be key to our success in protecting our members. You can email these records to me if you want. I will keep them for you. You can take pictures of receipts and text them to me if you want. The Crescent City Lodge of the FOP is here for you.
The City of New Orleans has stated that it does not intend to grant any exemptions to this CAO Policy Memo 146. That being said, if you are an FOP member who would like to request an exemption to this policy, you are welcome to contact me. Generally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for exemptions to these types of policies based on disabilities that prevent vaccination or sincerely held religious beliefs. An employer could have to grant a reasonable accommodation for employees with a disability that prevents the employee from getting vaccinated. Similar reasonable accommodations might have to be granted for employees with a sincerely held religious belief that prevents the employee from being vaccinated.
NOPD officer should be careful submitting exemption requests. They cannot be untruthful. Untruthful requests could subject the employee to disciplinary action. As I stated above, I am happy to assist FOP members with formulating an exemption request.
Any exemption request based on disability would have to explain what disability the exemption seeker had and how that disability interferes with the ability to take the vaccine. Any exemption request based on a sincerely held religious belief would have to be backed up by the religious customs the exemption seeker regularly observed. This would probably only include the Jehova’s Witnesses. All that being said, it is important to remember that if an exemption request were granted, the outcome would be that the exemption seeker would have to comply with the testing provisions of the policy as the policy contains both the mandate and the reasonable accommodation.
If you are sent home unauthorized leave without pay, please contact me immediately. This will be appealable to the Civil Service Commission. Contact me immediately if you are an NOPD employee who is sent home unauthorized leave without pay.
Again, this article only applies to employees of the New Orleans Police Department as of this time. NOPD officers should check back regularly for updates.