Fired Unvaxed LAUSD Employee Sues District for Religious Discrimination

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A former Los Angeles Unified School District employee is suing the district, alleging she was fired in 2021 in retaliation for objecting to LAUSD mandatory employee coronavirus vaccine mandate on religious grounds.

Deborah Mak’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation and failure to accommodate. She seeks unspecified damages.

“The district’s mandatory vaccination policy, which includes the wholesale denial of exemptions and accommodations, is unsupported by any local, state or federal guidance,” the suit states.

An LAUSD representative could not be reached for comment on the suit brought Wednesday.

Mak was hired in October 1999 and worked as a special education assistant at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills. During more than 20 years of service, she had an unblemished record and was well-liked by students and co- workers, the suit states.

Last August, the district adopted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all district employees to receive shots by mid-October while delaying the deadline for vaccinating students to this fall, the suit states.

“Despite shifting deadlines and an inconsistent application of its own policies, the district allowed unvaccinated kids to attend school and interact with the district’s vaccinated employees while at the same time claiming its goal was to keep kids and teachers as safe as possible,” the suit states.

The district had previously required all students and employees to test every week, wear masks indoors and outdoors and practice social distancing, determining that such steps were reasonable in order to allow students to attend school, the suit states.

“These were acceptable, successful, working accommodations for employees, almost two years, since the start of the pandemic,” the suit states. “To that end, they were acceptable, successful, working conditions, and remain today as such, for almost every other employer in Los Angeles County.”

Mak’s request for a religious exemption to the vaccination requirement was denied, the suit states. Although the district had accepted the sincerity of Mak’s religious beliefs and acknowledged the conflict with the district’s policy, she was fired on Dec. 8 on invalid grounds of insubordination, disobedience and failure to follow procedure, according to the suit.

District representatives told Mak before she received the exemption request forms that the LAUSD had no jobs for unvaccinated employees, establishing that her firing was already pre-determined, the suit alleges.

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