LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris says he is considering requiring all city employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk suspension from their jobs.
Parris says his office is looking at how many city employees have yet to get vaccinated. If they fail to have bonafide medical reasons for not being inoculated then he plans to mandate they get the shot or else.
The main issue for him, he says, is that many public employees have to have face-to-face contact with the public as they do their jobs.
"It is inconceivable to me that it is acceptable for a city employee to knowingly risk exposing someone in the public to a life-threatening disease," Parris said.
He recommends that those who refuse to get vaccinated be suspended until they change their minds.
He says they should have a graduated enforcement policy. He says the city will work with them as best as it can.
The mayor is concerned about the latest news from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reporting a spike in coronavirus cases as the more contagious Delta variant continues to spread among unvaccinated residents.
The mayor says county health should take a tougher stance, ordering that those who have face-to-face contact with the public should be vaccinated.
Labor attorney Angela Reddock-Wright says employers can take severe steps to ensure that they are creating a safe and healthy work environment.
In fact she adds they are mandated to do so by federal and state laws.
Wright says outside of bonafide religious reasons or a doctor's note excusing an employee from getting vaccinated employers have the right to mandate inoculations for employees.
Wright says employers that are requiring employees to be vaccinated, prior to returning to work or continuing to work, are on the right side of the law.
The Republican mayor saying even though he's being criticized by others in his own party, he's not backing down.
"If you want to attribute it to an insane leftist mayor - I don't care what you call me," Parris said. "Just don't kill people."