New York court orders all city employees fired for being unvaccinated to be reinstated and given back pay

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A New York state Supreme Court judge has ordered that city workers who were fired in for refusing to get vaccinated must be reinstated and receive back pay.

Judge Ralph Porzio said in a ruling issued on Monday that a New York City Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygeine’s order requiring its workers be vaccinated was “capricious and arbitrary” and had violated the state’s separation of powers doctrine.

“It is time for the City of New York to do what is right and what is just,” Judge Porzio said.

The case was filed by 16 employees of the New York City Department of Sanitation who were fired in October 2021 for failing to comply with a vaccine mandate.

The order will also apply to the more than 1,400 city workers, including hundreds of police officers, firefighters and education department employees, who were fired when a deadline passed in February.

“We just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee,” Chad Laveglia, an attorney representing the sanitation workers, said in a statement soon after the court ruling was released.

“It’s null and void.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin said it was a “100 per cent correct and just ruling” in a Twitter post.

“Nobody should lose their job over the personal decision whether or not to get the COVID shot.”

In March, New York City Mayor Eric Adams faced criticism for allowing unvaccinated athletes to play home games while the ban on unvaccinated city workers was still in force.

Judge Porzio’s 12 page ruling was highly critical of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s order to require city workers to have had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, which was later extended to privateemployers.

“There is nothing in the record to support the rationality of keeping a vaccination mandate for public employees, while vacating the mandate for private sector employees or creating a carveout for certain professions, like athletes, artists and performers,” the judge wrote.

“This is clearly an arbitrary and capricious action because we are dealing with identical unvaccinated people being treated differently by the same administrative agency.”

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