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Arizona AG files civil right lawsuit against Tucson over COVID-19 mandate

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday that it has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Tucson over its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements and related conduct.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich says the city violated state law and discriminated against employees who requested religious accommodations or disability-based medical exemptions to Tucson’s vaccine mandate.

The city implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination directive in August 2021, requiring that all of its more than 4,000 employees get the vaccination or submit a request for religious accommodation or medical exemption.

Employees had to be vaccinated by December 2021 or they would face termination. Brnovich initially gave Tucson 30 days to rescind the order.

“Tucson dictated a widespread vaccine mandate without regard to its impact on the liberties and civil rights of its employees,” Brnovich said in a statement Tuesday.

A spokesman for Tucson said “the city will not comment on the merits, or the lack of merits, of pending litigation.”

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.