The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday fined Leon County $3.5 million for its vaccine mandates for county employees.
It comes at a time when many businesses are increasingly requiring this for their workers, or get let go.
David Smith, a United States Air Force Veteran of Royal Palm Beach, tells CBS12 News it happened to him.
“They said get the vaccine card, or nothing,” Smith said inside his home Tuesday evening.
The 35-year-year old had COVID-19 months ago and even talked to his doctor about this before making a decision.
“They told me there is no added pros to me getting the vaccine, since I already had it. They advised me not to get it,” Smith said. “Ultimately, I believe I was the only one that was let go because of it.”
It was a tough decision for Smith after four long years with the company, but he believes in the right to choose.
“I really grew into the position I was in and it just came to this one thing. That was such a hard line," Smith said.
He was concerned that if somebody at his office was to get it, or one of us got it, that they could come back at him.”
The guidance under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission confirms employers can require vaccinations, but there are limited exceptions for religious or medical reasons.
While vaccine passports are banned in the state of Florida, Palm Beach County attorney Peter Sachs said showing proof, at this time, applies to employees.
“If its condition of employment as of the date of certain, the employee would have to show evidence that he got or she got the vaccine,” said attorney Peter Sachs of Sachs Sax & Caplan Law Firm in Boca Raton.
Governor Ron DeSantis announced in St. Pete Beach Tuesday he is exploring all options to legally block vaccine-related firings in the private sector.
Meantime, the Florida Department of Health said it will continue to accept complaints against any businesses found to be requiring vaccines for customers.
On Monday, the state released a long list of more than 100 businesses that it's looking into for potentially violating Florida's ban against those so-called vaccine passports, including many places in West Palm Beach.
Luckily, the air force veteran has since scored a new job in the same industry to provide for his wife and two young girls.
“The business has to understand, we have a choice as well,” Smith said.
by Luli Ortiz of CBS12
Sachs Sax Caplan, P.L. is proud to be recognized by The Florida Bar for our commitment to hiring and developing Board Certified Attorneys.