Following through on threats to discipline participants in a four-week “blue flu,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials began docking the pay of deputies for past work slowdowns and moved to suspend scores of others who participated in the sickout Wednesday.
In the largest work slowdown this year, nearly 550 deputies called in sick Wednesday, delaying operations at six county jails, the majority of them downtown, as well as five courthouses – Burbank, Beverly Hills, Inglewood, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles.
Sheriff Lee Baca, who has been criticized in some quarters for not taking more aggressive action against what he has called an illegal work slowdown, said that while he understands the frustration of his deputies, he means business for those who defy policy and the law.
“We’re not playing a game here,” Baca said. “I’m going to hold them accountable People were told far in advance of the consequences, and they are choosing to be punished, as I see it.”
Deputies who engaged in the wildcat strike Wednesday could also be suspended for up to five days for an unexcused absence under new rules approved last week by the county Board of Supervisors, said Assistant Sheriff Doyle Campbell.