DeSantis fines Florida county nearly $4 million for firing unvaccinated workers

“We must protect the jobs of Floridians and preserve the ability of Floridians to make their own decisions regrading what shots to take,” DeSantis wrote.

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Health is fining Leon County for violating the state’s ban on vaccine passports, and for firing employees who did not receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

In a tweet on Tuesday, DeSantis wrote, “no oner should lose their job because of COVID shots… We must protect the jobs of Floridians and preserve the ability of Floridians to make their own decisions regrading what shots to take.”

According to WCTV, the DOH notice of violation states that “the county is facing 714 counts for requiring employees to provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus.”

An email from Governor DeSantis office stated that the county also fired 14 employees for not receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations.

“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. Governor DeSantis will continue fighting for Floridians’ rights and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law,” a spokesperson for the governor said in a  statement to WCTV on Tuesday.

The DOH is able to issue a $5,000 fine per person that is asked to show proof of vaccination under the state’s current COVID-19 rules.

Leon County reportedly issued its order for county employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in July, with a deadline to receive the proper shots by October 1, according to WCTV.

In September, County Administrator Vince Long said that Leon County’s mandate would hold up in court.

“We believe that requiring our employees as a condition of employment to become vaccinated is legal,” Long said. “It’s permissible. The EEOC agrees with us, the DOJ agrees with us, federal district courts agree with us, and we also believe that it’s not inconsistent with Florida law.”

The DOH has reportedly given Leon County 30 days to pay the fine.