Montclair city employees asked to wear stickers to prove vaccination if they want to ditch masks on the job

Montclair’s Human Resources Department sent out the memo and compliance form to city employees, asking workers to provide proof of vaccination. In return, vaccinated city employees will get a yellow sticker they can place over their badge.

"The sticker is not mandatory," says the city’s human resources director, but it does tell the public that the person they are dealing with is vaccinated.

The sticker allows the vaccinated employee to take off their masks on the job, with the city's HR director adding, "it saves the public the need to ask someone if they are vaccinated, they know right away."

The senior citizens we spoke to at the city's lunch pickup spot did tell us they preferred to see the stickers, which made them feel safer. 

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On the other hand, at least one Montclair Councilmember, Bob Jimenez, has expressed concerns. He believes the policy violates employee privacy, even as City Manager Edward Starr says that the State and Federal governments have made it "clear that disclosing your vaccination status does not break HIPPA law (a 1996 federal law that protects patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent), and that Cal-Osha, in their June directive, directed companies to ask their employees to give proof or sign affidavits of vaccination if they chose not to wear masks at work.

Residents we spoke to, who are not necessarily senior citizens, range in their opinions from support of the police, to outright opposition. One person going as far as saying that making employees wear a sticker reminded him of the yellow stars that Jewish people were ordered to wear during the Holocaust. Still, the majority of those we spoke to didn’t seem to care one way or another if the employee at the city’s traffic ticket counter, for example, was wearing a sticker. 

Many preferred the mask, regardless of vaccination.

It’s an issue that is playing out in municipalities all over, as city officials try to figure out how to maneuver the implications of the pandemic on their organizations, especially those who deal with public employees.

Councilmember Lopez in the June 19 City Hall Meeting said, "there are many in this organization taking a position of an employee’s right to privacy, and I clearly disagree with the sticker." 

Starr counters that the police have been reviewed by their City Attorney and that implementation will begin Monday, July 26 at 6 p.m.