Rossi v. Sequoia Union Elementary Sch., 2023 WL 5498732 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023)
Pursuant to the State Public Health Officer Order of August 11, 2021, K-12 schools were required to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of all school workers and to require proof of vaccination or weekly diagnostic screen testing. Plaintiff Gloria Elizabeth Rossi, an employee of the school district, refused to disclose her vaccination status or undergo weekly testing and would not consent to the school district’s obtaining or disclosing her confidential medical information. Rossi was offered the option to work remotely, but she refused to do so, claiming she could not fulfill her job duties remotely.
Ultimately, Rossi’s employment was terminated for her refusal to comply with the district’s test-or-vaccinate requirement. Rossi sued the district under the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (“CMIA”) for alleged discrimination based on her refusal to authorize a release of her confidential medical information and for unauthorized use of her medical information. The trial court sustained the district’s demurrer without leave to amend, and the Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal on the ground that the necessity exception found within Cal. Civ. Code § 56.20(b) (i.e., complying with a lawful order of the State Public Health Officer) shielded defendants from liability as a matter of law.