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Vaccine-exempt Denver deputy fired for failing to submit weekly COVID-19 tests

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Posted at 11:47 AM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 13:47:47-05

DENVER — A deputy with the Denver Sheriff Department has been fired after refusing to comply with the City and County of Denver’s COVID-19 requirements.

The city’s Department of Public Safety sent a termination letter to Deputy Eugen Papaianopol on Jan. 21 claiming he failed to submit the results of his required weekly COVID-19 testing.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the city’s vaccine mandate in August, which required all city and county employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Papaianopol received an exemption from the mandate. Requirements for employees who receive an exemption include: wearing a mask during all working hours, except when eating or drinking, getting a PCR COVID-19 test every five calendar days and uploading the results of the tests weekly.

After Papaianopol failed to report his test results every time in October and the first four times in November, he received a notice on Nov. 26 for a disciplinary meeting on Dec. 9. according to the letter.

Papaianopol waived his right to participate in the meeting, which the letter said would have been an opportunity for him to tell his side of the story and correct any errors.

He then failed to submit his COVID-19 test results for the last time in November and the first two times in December. At that time, Papaianopol was served a 10-day suspension.

On Dec. 27, another disciplinary meeting was set for Jan. 5, and Papaianopol chose to waive his right to participate in the meeting on Jan. 1.

Papaianopol had 14 days following the Jan. 21 termination letter to file a notice of appeal of this disciplinary action with the Career Service Hearing Office.

Dozens of sheriff’s department employees applied for a vaccine waiver ahead of the Sept. 30 vaccination deadline, and the city granted most of those waivers. Most of Denver’s city employees were vaccinated by the deadline.

Seven Denver Police Department officers sued the mayor, chief of police and the executive director of Denver’s department of public health over the vaccine mandate, but a judge ultimately dismissed the case.