A veteran Los Angeles police sergeant who alleges she was wrongfully fired in May for refusing to pay for coronavirus testing while awaiting a decision on her request for a religious exemption from taking the vaccination is asking a judge to reinstate her with back pay.
Former LAPD Sgt. Barbara Riggs’ Los Angeles Superior Court petition alleges the city violated the state labor code by requiring her to undergo and pay for COVID testing while her vaccinated co-workers had the option of being tested at the city’s expense.
Riggs’ petition notes that during her Board of Rights hearing before her May termination, the panel concluded, “It’s troubling to require some, but not all employees to pay for testing.”
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office said Monday his office will review the petition, but he had no further comment.
In her petition brought Friday, Riggs says she and other city employees who requested a medical or religious exemption were asked to have $260 deducted from their bi-weekly paychecks, or to be invoiced, for employer- mandated COVID-19 testing while awaiting their exemption or appeal determination.
Riggs, a member of the LAPD for 32 years, submitted her religious exemption request last Oct. 19, her petition states.
A Board of Rights hearing was held in January and Riggs was found guilty two months later of failing to comply with the requirements of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy requirements as a condition of her employment, the petition states.
Although the board concluded during its penalty phase in April that the city’s policy was unfair because it “provides different regimes for classes of employees as to whether the department would pay for the testing or not pay, creating a potential violation of the labor code,” the board nonetheless recommended to Chief Michel Moore in May that Riggs be fired, and the chief subsequently terminated her, according to Riggs’ petition.