Out of nearly 11,000 Denver city employees, 23 have been fired for not complying with a health order to be vaccinated by Sept. 30 or get approved for a “reasonable” exemption, according to the city.
Of the employees dismissed as of Oct. 29, 20 did not submit proof of vaccine compliance, and three refused to comply with the testing requirements related to their approved exemptions, the city’s Office of Human Resources said.
Mayor Michael Hancock issued the health order in early August.
The Denver City Attorney’s Office told BusinessDen in September that possible disciplinary action could have been a 10-day suspension without pay, but employees who remained non-compliant longer than that could be dismissed. On the flip side, the city offered one-time $400 bonuses to employees who did comply by the required date.
“Our city employees have done incredible work under some of the most difficult circumstances over the course of the pandemic,” Hancock said in August. “Complying with this public health order is another example of how they’ve stepped up for our city.”
Denver agencies and departments began issuing “contemplation of discipline” letters Oct. 1 to employees who don’t receive an exemption or provide their vaccine records by Sept. 30, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
Exempted employees must also submit to COVID-19 testing and “potentially other” safety protocols, the office said.
The vaccine mandate also prompted some employees to quit or retire.
The Denver Post reported in mid-October that less than 1 percent of Denver’s police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters quit their jobs over the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Fifteen police officers, seven sheriff’s deputies and five firefighters resigned or retired because of the vaccine mandate, the Post reported. Those former employees specifically cited the vaccine mandate in their resignation or retirement letters.