By a MetNews Staff Writer
All 4,600 employees of the Los Angeles Superior Court must be inoculated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment no later than 45 days after the Food & Drug Administration gives its final approval to at least one of the vaccines, it was announced yesterday.
The statement by Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor and Executive Officer/Clerk of Court Sherri R. Carter acknowledges that judges are independently elected officials to whom the mandate cannot be applied, but noted that they “will be provided a portal to facilitate submission of their vaccination certificates tomorrow and, from all indications, have participated in this ongoing effort.”
An exception will be made, Carter noted, for employees whose medical conditions preclude vaccination or whose religion rule it out.
Protecting Employees, Visitors
“The Court has a duty to protect the people we serve. By ensuring a safe workplace, through mandatory vaccination, the Court is protecting both its employees who provide essential public services and those who are required to come into a courthouse. Throughout the pandemic, the Court has strictly followed public health and CDC guidelines to protect our workforce, justice partners and the public from COVID-19.” He added: “Vaccination is the chief tool we have as a society to keep everyone safe and end this pandemic. Earlier this year, the Court worked with county health department officials to prioritize vaccinations for court staff, judicial officers and justice partners working in our court facilities. The Court is now proud to join healthcare companies, higher education, businesses, and government to do its part to promote public health and safety.”
“The Court’s employees are considered disaster service workers under state law and are required to deliver statutorily mandated, time-sensitive and emergency services in times of local, state and national emergencies such as this global pandemic. People who enter our courthouses are required, and many times ordered, to come to court so it is important that the Court do everything possible to protect our workforce and the public we serve.”
Face masks have been required since June of last year. Social distances is no longer obligatory, but the court has urged that appearances be made remotely.
Taylor also announced yesterday that changes will be made over the next 60 days in civil cases, as the court heads toward a return to normalcy. He said:
•Three trial departments— two in the San Gabriel Valley and one in West Los Angeles—will become independent calendar courtrooms.
•Two courtrooms, one in Van Nuys and one in Beverly Hills, will be used for mandatory settlement conferences.
•Three now-closed trial departments will re-open one in West Los Angeles, one in the San Fernando Valley, and one in the South Bay.
•A sixth personal injury courtroom will open at the Spring Street Courthouse.
•A courtroom in West Covina will be devoted to unlawful detainer and small claims cases.
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