The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has issued a notice of violation to Leon County Government assessing fines totaling $3,570,000 for its violation of the law relating to the ban of vaccine passports. This fine has been assessed for 714 instances of violating Florida’s ban on vaccine passports. Leon County Government ultimate fired 14 employees. A copy of the Notice of Violation to Leon County can be found here.
“It is unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida law, infringed on current and former employees’ medical privacy, and fired loyal public servants because of their personal health decisions,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We will continue fighting for Floridians’ rights and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law. We’re going to stand up for Floridians’ jobs, stand up for Floridians’ livelihoods, and stand up for freedom.”
Leon County Administrator Vince Long recently vowed to fight back. Long said “there is a genuine disagreement about the applicability of the statute and rule, and the County will enforce its rights using any remedies available at law, if necessary.”
Long believes the DOH fine is political.
“It’s obvious to me that the governor’s position here is political strategy which has nothing to do with the positions we’ve taken,” Long said.
On July 28, Leon County Government mandated that its employees provide verification of vaccination to its human resources department no later than October 1. On October 4, Leon County terminated 14 employees for their refusal or failure comply with this requirement. Leon County Government required 700 of their employees to provide this proof in order to keep their jobs.
While Leon County has broken the law and received notice of a multi-million dollar fine, other local governments have reversed course. Last week, after alerting the City of Gainesville of their possible violation of the vaccination passport ban in Florida, the Florida Department of Health received a response indicating the City of Gainesville rescinded its employee vaccine mandate. This reversal also follows an Eighth Judicial Circuit Court temporary injunction preventing vaccine mandates for city employees.