Correction: The ruling ordering reinstatement and backpay applies only the 16 Department of Sanitation employees who filed the petition. However, the petitioners’ attorney has stated that in light of the ruling, “every city employee who has been terminated because of the mandate could bring civil actions against the city.” LifeSiteNews apologizes for the earlier error.
NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) — A New York state Supreme Court judge on Monday struck down New York City’s “unconstitutional” COVID-19 jab mandate for city workers, ordering that the petitioners who were terminated for vaccine refusal be reinstated to their full employment and become eligible for back pay.
“We just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee,” Attorney Chad LaVeglia announced outside the Richmond County courthouse in a video shared on Twitter.
#BREAKING Judge Strikes Down NYC Vaccine Mandate for City Workers. “It’s null and void,” says attorney @ChadLaveglia. “We just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee.” pic.twitter.com/PqqjhfNNCq
— NYCforYourself (@nycforyourself) October 24, 2022
The ruling applies specifically to the 16 Department of Sanitation workers who filed a petition against the city for its COVID-19 jab mandate, but LaVeglia said it will impact all city employees. Over 1,700 city employees, including police officers and firefighters, have been fired over vaccine refusal in New York.
“Every city employee who has been terminated because of the mandate could bring civil actions against the city,” LaVeglia said.
On Tuesday afternoon, however, the city responded to the ruling by filing an appeal, saying it will keep its jab mandate in place.
In the 13-page decision handed down October 24, state Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio declared that New York’s health commissioner had “exceeded his authority” by imposing the mandate requiring city employees get the COVID-19 jab as a condition of employment, remarking that “[i]t is time for the City of New York to do what is right and what is just” by rolling back the requirement.
Arguing that the mandate was “arbitrary and capricious,” Porzio highlighted Democrat Mayor Eric Adams’ executive order earlier this year permitting unvaccinated celebrities and athletes to work in the city while unvaccinated firefighters, police officers, and other public servants lost their jobs.
According to Porzio, “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.”
“This is clearly an arbitrary and capricious action because we are dealing with identical unvaccinated people being treated differently by the same administrative agency,” he wrote.
“The vaccination mandate for city employees was not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance.” https://t.co/RZ5O3gbNrY
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) October 25, 2022
The judge further pointed out that being “vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19,” spotlighting updated CDC guidance that advises that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals be treated alike with regard to quarantine or isolation. Porzio also observed that U.S. President Joe Biden recently stated that the pandemic is over, and that the state of emergency in New York expired more than a month prior.
“The vaccine mandate for City employees was not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance,” he said.
Consequently, the judge ordered that the Health Commissioner’s mandate, which he determined to be unconstitutional, arbitrary, and capricious, be overruled.
Porzio also ordered that the 16 Department of Sanitation employees who were terminated for vaccine refusal be reinstated in their full capacities by 6 a.m. Tuesday, October 25. The judge further ordered that the fired employees are entitled to back pay beginning from the date of their termination.
In the video shared to Twitter, LaVeglia noted that the ruling will impact all city employees, including firefighters and police officers, suggesting they are now “free” to once again do their jobs.
“For all the brave men and women who have been our first responders and have been brave through all this are now free, and you should be able to go back to work,” he said.
The ruling against the COVID-19 jab mandate in New York came just a month after a different New York Supreme Court judge ruled that the city’s mandate for members of the city’s biggest law enforcement union was “invalid,” ordering that any officers who had been terminated for vaccine refusal be reinstated, LifeSiteNews reported.
In the ruling handed down September 23, New York state Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank declared the city’s COVID shot mandate was “invalid to the extent it has been used to impose a new condition of employment to current PBA members.”
Accordingly, the judge ordered that Police Benevolent Association (PBA) members who “were caused to be wrongfully terminated and/or put on leave without pay as a result of non-compliance with the unlawful new condition of employment discussed above are directed to be reinstated to the status they were as of the date of the wrongful action.”
This article has been expanded and updated after publication.