The New York state Supreme Court has reinstated all employees who were fired for not being vaccinated, ordering back pay and saying their rights had been violated.
The court found Monday that “being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19.” New York City Mayor Eric Adams claimed earlier this year that his administration would not rehire employees who had been fired over their vaccination status.
According to the Daily Signal, a New York judge ordered Monday that Department of Sanitation employees terminated for refusing to get vaccinated be reinstated to their full employment status, writing that the vaccination mandate for city employees was “not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance.”
Judge Ralph J. Porzio wrote in his ruling that if the vaccine mandate was about “safety and public health, unvaccinated workers would have been placed on leave the moment the order was issued.”
“If it was about safety and public health, the Health Commissioner would have issued city-wide mandates for vaccination for all residents,” he continued. “In a City with a nearly 80% vaccination rate, we shouldn’t be penalizing the people who showed up to work, at great risk to themselves and their families, while we were locked down.”
Porzio’s ruling states that the October 20, 2021, and December 13, 2021 rulings from the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene ordering that all employees get vaccinated are “arbitrary and capricious,” ordering that the petitioners be reinstated to their full employment status, and entitled to back pay in salary from the date of termination.
“Yesterday marked a historic victory for sanitation workers, all the brave NYC employees who serve the public and our representative democracy,” attorney Chad LaVeglia told The Daily Signal. “The court struck down NYC’s draconian, arbitrary, vaccine mandate on multiple constitutional and legal grounds. The thousands of City employees who were ignored, now have a voice. And as the court recognized, they deserve better.”
“The court also recognized a common sense principle that has somehow eluded politicians like Eric Adams: forcing one—and only one—segment of the population to get vaccinated during a worldwide outbreak, is unconstitutional and arbitrary,” he added. “Sixteen sanitation workers fought back against tyranny. And won. This is a historic victory for individual rights, and the system of government mandated by the Constitution.”
NYC alone fired roughly 1,400 employees for being unvaccinated earlier this year after the city adopted a vaccine mandate under former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Many of those fired were police officers and firefighters.
FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro and FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Lt. James McCarthy condemned Adams earlier this year after the mayor allowed an exception to the vaccine mandate for athletes and performers, even as firefighters were still being fired over their status. The pair called on the city to expand the exception to all New Yorkers.
“We’re here to say that we support the revocation of the vaccine mandate that the mayor announced on Thursday,” McCarthy said. “We think that it should be extended as well. We support the revocation of the mandate for the athletes and performers that work in New York City. We think that the people that work for New York City should also have the mandate relocated for them.”
“If you’re going to remove the vaccine mandate for certain people in the city, you need to remove it for everybody in the city,” Ansbro said. “If you’re going to follow the science, science is going to tell you there isn’t any danger right now, and putting hundreds of firefighters, police officers, and other emergency workers out of work is not in the best interest of the city. It’s not safe.”