“So, we just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee—not just sanitation,” said Attorney Chad LaVeglia, who announced the verdict outside the Richmond County courthouse, adding that the mandate was now “null and void.”
#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
“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 added.
The ruling comes after more than 2,000 city employees were fired for refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine. It applies to all public workers, including the NY Fire Department, the police department and the Department of Corrections.
The lawsuit in question was filed on July 20 by 16 city employees who were fired for failing to comply with the mandate. It was struck down by Justice Ralph Porzio, who ruled against the city in finding that the mandate – which did allow exceptions, was an arbitrary and capricious order, and that Democrat Mayor Eric Adams “made a different decision for similarly situated people based on identical facts,” when he issued Executive Order No. 62.
According to Porzio, there was nothing on 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 added.
As The Epoch Times continues, in his ruling, Porzio said city workers shouldn’t be terminated for choosing “not to protect themselves” with a vaccine, noting that “breakthrough cases occur” even for those who are vaccinated and boosted. He also noted that President Joe Biden has declared “the pandemic is over.”
The judge noted that New York ended its COVID-19 state of emergency “over a month ago.” He also noted that the first responders named in the lawsuit continued to work without protective gear, and had “created natural immunity” after catching COVID-19.
“They were terminated and are willing to come back to work for the City that cast them aside. The vaccination mandate for City employees was not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance. If it 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. In a City with a nearly 80 percent 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.
“If it was about safety and public health, no one would be exempt. It is time for the City of New York to do what is right and what is just,” Porzio said in his ruling.
Finally, and most importantly, the court ordered the city to reinstate all fired employees and grant them backpay, citing the fact that being vaccinated against COVID-19 does not stop an individual from catching or spreading the virus, and thus being vaccinated does not grant enough community-wide benefit to warrant a mandate. The health commissioner “acted beyond his authority” by issuing an indefinite vaccine mandate rather than a temporary one, according to the court.
Will this set a precedent nationwide?