State Justice Orders Reinstatement of Employees Fired Over Vaccine Mandate
(RightWing.org) – Some policies created due to the COVID-19 pandemic were highly controversial. In New York City, one of them was a public vaccine mandate. On October 20, 2021, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a COVID vaccine decree for the city’s workforce. On December 6, 2021, de Blasio executed another one for private sector workers known as the “Key to NYC.” The mayor touted it as a first-in-the-nation order requiring vaccines for those who wanted to dine indoors, go to the gym, or attend entertainment and performance venues.
Soon after taking office, new Mayor Eric Adams fired over 1,400 New York City employees who didn’t comply with the October order. As a result, 16 sanitation workers filed a lawsuit. On Tuesday, October 25, a New York State judge ruled the Big Apple must rehire the employees and blasted Adams for keeping the public worker mandate in place despite lifting the one for the private sector.
Court Orders NYC To Reinstate Workers With Backpay
Judge Ralph Porzio ordered officials to rehire the employees fired for failing to follow the COVID vaccine requirement. In his decision, the judge said the rule was “arbitrary and capricious.” Porzio stated they could go back to work and receive back pay, effective at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
In his ruling, the judge said the city shouldn’t penalize people who came to work during the pandemic, risking their health and that of their families, while the rest of society was locked down in their homes. Porzio heavily criticized Adams for lifting the citywide order on the private sector and student-athletes while keeping the public employee edict in force.
The opinion stated there wasn’t rational support for one standard for public workers and another for everyone else. He added there also wasn’t a good reason to carve out exceptions for athletes, performers, and artists. Porzio said the mandate was arbitrary and capricious “because we are dealing with identical unvaccinated people” who were treated differently by the administration. He stated the double standard violated the fire municipal workers’ equal protection rights, among other problems.
The judge also questioned whether the mandate was really about public safety and health. He stated if that were the case, everyone would be required to get vaccinated without any exemptions.
City Appeals Judge’s Decision
After the ruling came down, officials said they were reviewing the court’s opinion. Still, they stated it only applied to those who filed the lawsuit, and the mandate was still in force. A spokesman for Mayor Adams emphasized they strongly disagreed and doubled down that the vaccine order was rooted in law and vital to public health. The spokesman added the city has filed an appeal.
Earlier this year, FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro and FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Lt. James McCarthy called on the mayor to revoke the mandate. They said if Adams removed the requirement for certain people, he should do it for all of them. Ansboro added if they followed the science, putting hundreds of public employees, such as firefighters and police, and other emergency workers, out of jobs wasn’t safe or in anyone’s best interest.
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