NY State Supreme Court Overturns Vaccine Mandate

October 25, 2022
A photo of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, New York

Biting Back At The Big Apple

The New York Supreme Court rules against New York City in a case over mandated vaccines for city sanitation workers.
Here's What To Know
Why It Matters
and What's Next

Backstory:

  • Big Picture: New York City instated some of the first-of-their-kind mandates in America during the COVID-19 pandemic – e.g. proof of vaccination for indoor dining and activities.

  • October 2021: New York City required city workers (fire fighters, police officers, sanitation workers, etc.) to be vaccinated.

  • December 2021: Vaccine mandate announced for private sector (office workers).

  • The Court Case: A group of city sanitation workers, fired in February for not following the vaccine mandate, filed suit.

“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."

New York State Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio, ruling in favor of the sanitation workers who filed suit against the city. Judge Porzio took issue with the New York City mayor enforcing the mandate for city workers (who would be fired if they decided to not get vaccinated), while also issuing exemptions for private workers in certain professions (such as athletes).

"The city strongly disagrees with this ruling as the mandate is firmly grounded in law and is critical to New Yorkers' public health. We have already filed an appeal."

A spokesman for the NYC law department in a statement following the decision. NYC Mayor Eric Adams recently announced that the vaccine mandate for private employees will end on November 1st, but there is no definitive end date for government workers.

"It Ain't Over Till It's Over."

A quote widely attributed to famed NY Yankee Yogi Berra. The city has already appealed the ruling; final judgment is TBD.

Per the mayor's office, more than 1,700 city employees have been fired for not complying with the vaccine mandate – the majority of them were fired in February, around the same time as the sanitation workers involved in this lawsuit. At the time when these workers were fired, Mayor Adams said they were "quitting," stating it was their "decision" to not be vaccinated.

New York City appeals judge's ruling that could reinstate fired unvaccinated employees (ABC7)

Judge tells NYC to rehire workers fired for refusing vaccination (The Washington Post)

by Jenna Lee,

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