BY MAIRE O’NEILL
An organization called New Mexico Stands Up! has sent a cease and desist letter to Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thom Mason stating that “if LANL continues to mandate Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) medical products on employees such as face masks, COVID-19 testing or any of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines”, the organization may have no choice but to take legal action.
The 11-page letter, signed by attorneys N. Ana Garner and Jon Diener, and claims to represent a large group of LANL employees, was received by the Los Alamos Reporter Sunday evening. It states that the “illegal mandates expose individuals to compulsory risk and directly violate Federal law”.
“Employers can be held liable for damages caused by the experimental medical products if they are not given full freedom of choice without threat of consequences. We urge you to comply with the FD&C Act and the terms of the EUAs, and to advise all employees of their right to accept or refuse any experimental medical products. Any other course of action is contrary to Federal and State law,” the letter says.
A LANL spokesman told the Los Alamos Reporter in an email Monday that the health and safety of Laboratory employees has been and continues to be a top priority.
“COVID vaccination is strongly recommended, but not mandatory at the Laboratory. Because the vaccination is not mandatory, the Laboratory has a robust COVID-19 testing program used to ensure the safety of employees, their co-workers, families and surrounding communities. The testing requirement applies to all unvaccinated employees who could be called to work on-site at any time to serve our national security mission,” the spokesman said.
The New Mexico Stands Up! website says it is “a non-partisan, volunteer-driven organization working to protect individual rights through public interest legal action, provide additional support to New Mexicans facing loss of health freedom, and educate the public about the reality of the declared public health emergency and their rights with regard to mandated medical interventions”.
“We are united in our desire to preserve our civil liberties, to expose the misrepresentations surrounding the declared public health emergency, and to hold our elected leaders and government agencies accountable for their actions,” the website states.
An ad running in the Los Alamos Daily Post directed at “National Lab Employees” invites Lab employees to share or record their tip and/or contact information anonymously via a New Mexico Stands Up! email or tip line. The ad reads:
“National Laboratory employees are organizing to resist mandatory experimental injections and punitive serial testing, medical status discrimination, coercion, retaliation, and bullying. We also seek full disclosure to all employees of possible injection health risks.
“If you are concerned about how you or others are treated by Lab leadership or other employees and if you want to connect others in your situation who can provide more information about the experimental injection risks, side effects, injuries or death, please share or record your tip and/or contact information via: nmstandsup.org/tip-line or email TIPLINE.NMStandsUP@protonmail.com. Tips require a means of verification/corroboration. To sustain anonymity and encryption, send from a free protonmail account. It
LANL protocols for managers have been established to help them address situations where an employee refuses to follow procedures on site. Employees may be sent home in an unpaid status if they refuse to follow COVID-19 protocols such as refusing to wear a mask or removing a mask when their manager is not present. Employees who fail to show for COVID-19 testing, or who repeatedly reschedule COVID-19 testing for reasons that are not acceptable to the Laboratory, may be required to take a COVID-19 test with no notice. LANL has noted in announcements to managers that there have been a series of incidents where employees who are angry about the testing requirement have vented their frustrations on testing personnel. Those employees are subject to disciplinary action.
LANL announcements to employees state that following COVID-10 protocols is vitally important for their safety and the safety of their co-workers and that the Laboratory takes instances of non-compliance very seriously.
“Unfortunately, a handful of employees have been terminated from employment during the pandemic because they knowingly failed to follow these protocols, endangering their fellow employees,” one announcement states.
It goes on to remind employees that if they are not fully vaccinated, “the failure to follow the required protocols is a serious safety violation and may constitute a disciplinary offense, such as insubordination”. Unvaccinated employees are required to wear a compliant face mask at all times when on Laboratory property unless they are alone in a closed, hard office or in a vehicle.
“Employees who refuse or repeatedly fail to wear a mask when required to do so will be sent home, mostly likely in a non-pay status, while the matter is investigated for possible discipline,” the directive to employees states.
It notes that COVID-19 testing is mandatory, and Occupational Medicine must approve all exemptions.
“COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees is a vital part of the strategy to support contact tracing and to limit the spread of COVID-19. Testing is mandatory for unvaccinated employees, including employees who are teleworking. Teleworking employees may be required to come on-site with little or no notice. There are limited medical circumstances in which Occupational Medicine will authorize an employee to obtain an alternate COVID-19 test from a community provider instead of the testing conducted at LANL. Only Occupational Medicine has the authority to make this decision. In recent weeks, there has been a series of testing refusals, repeated reschedules, and “no-shows” among employees called for a test. Moving forward, these cases will be considered for disciplinary action,” the directive to employees states.
The letter to LANL states that LANL should also be aware that the Biden administration throught the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has stated that federal employees should not be required to be vaccinated and that vaccinations should generally not be a precondition for employees or contractors at executive departments and agencies to work in person in federal buildings, on federal lands and in other settings as required by their job duties.
It says it is designed to inform LANL of the law and the related scientific facts in their application to civil liberties, rights and LANL’s potential liability in mandating face masks, COVID testing and COVID-19 vaccines.
The letter also claims that not only LANL but individual employees who are involved in acquiring “these unapproved medical products” can be liable.
“Employees at LANL have stated that they are being retaliated against, discriminated against and being subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of taking the injection. This includes being kept in a segregated area and not being allowed to join in certain socializing events. This is not acceptable. If an employee quits in response to such treatment, it is considered a constructive firing and can be grounds for a retaliatory discharge suit. It also is in violation of the New Mexico Whistleblower’s Act which states that a public employer shall not take any retaliatory action against a public employee because the public employee objects to or refuses to participate in an activity, policy or practice that constitutes in an unlawful or improper act,” the letter states.
It says an employee has advised that his supervisor had access to his health information and was sharing it with others.
“New Mexico recognizes invasion of privacy as a tort and a constitutional violation. We demand that whatever policies or procedures you are utilizing that gives access to an employee’s health and medical information be ceased,” the letter says.