San Francisco threatens to suspend city employees who don't disclose vaccination status

San Francisco is preparing to suspend city employees with the police, fire and sheriff's departments who refuse to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the city sent out letters on Thursday recommending 10-day unpaid suspensions for those who remain non-compliant. 

Eight are with the San Francisco Police Department, two are from the sheriff's department and seven are with the fire department. 

The newspaper reports hundreds of employees from other city departments could receive similar letters as soon as next week. 

The employee deadline to comply with the new citywide mandate was Aug. 12. That was an extension from a July deadline for all city and county employees.  

The Department of Human Resources said 98% of its workers did meet that deadline. The city department's data shows 879 city or county employees have failed to register their vaccination status. That's 2% of the overall workforce. 

Data also shows 87.8% of city and county workers are vaccinated, while 10% are unvaccinated. 

The unvaccinated includes: 634 San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency workers, 500 from the police department, 242 from the fire department and 190 from the sheriff's department. 

An SFPD letter to the force, said failure to comply with the policy, and an Oct. 13 deadline to get vaccinated, may result in disciplinary action. 

San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 union said in a statement, "We will continue to work in good faith with DHR to not only represent the best interests of our members, but also to do what is most important for public safety."

Earlier this month, KTVU reported as many as 200 city employees had asked for an exemption from the vaccine mandate. 

The city's policy says once the vaccines are fully approved by the federal government, employees must comply and get the vaccine or lose their job. However, medical or religious exemptions, where appropriate, are allowed. 

The COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for emergency use through the Food and Drug Administration. There are reports that full approval of the vaccine could come as soon as late summer or fall.  

Some sheriff's deputies recently said they might quit over upcoming vaccine requirement mandates. Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said those take effect Sept. 15.

Some of the union leaders said they are investigating whether some of the suspension notices are from misunderstandings such as workers who may have been on vacation and missed the notice. In those cases, they may seek an appeal.