NY Supreme Court Strikes Down NYC Worker Vax Mandate

Last Updated on October 25, 2022

A New York Supreme Court judge struck down New York City’s vaccine mandate for all city workers in a major Monday ruling. The court found the mandate — which led to the firing of hundreds of city workers — to be unconstitutional.

Attorney Chad LaVeglia said the mandate was now “null and void” when announcing the verdict outside the Richmond County courthouse. “So, we just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee—not just sanitation,” LaVeglia said in a video statement posted on the NYCForYourself Twitter account.

The ruling officially brings an end to the mandate that led to the firing of over 2,000 city workers who opted not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“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,” LaVeglia said.

The lawsuit that led to the mandate being struck down was filed by George Garvey and 15 of his colleagues with the New York City Department of Sanitation. Legal action was filed on July 20 after they were let go after refusing to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Justice Ralph Porzio ultimately ruled against the city’s mandate and found it to have been an arbitrary and capricious order. “This is clearly an arbitrary and capricious action because we are dealing with identical unvaccinated people being treated differently by the same administrative agency,” the judge said in his ruling.

Porzio took issue with the fact that the mandate allowed exceptions for athletes, artists and other traveling performers while city workers were held to a different standard. Mayor Eric Adams “made a different decision for similarly situated people based on identical facts” in his Executive Order No. 62, the judge wrote.

The ruling noted that 15 of the 16 petitioners were denied exemptions after receiving “generalized and vague denials.” Porzio ruled that there was “no reason” why they couldn’t have been allowed to work while their exemption requests were being processed.

“There was no reason why the City of New York could not continue with a vaccinate or test policy, like the Mayor’s Executive Order that was issued in August 2021,” the judge wrote.

“It is clear that the Health Commissioner has the authority to issue public health mandates. No one is refuting that authority. However, the Health Commissioner cannot create a new condition of employment for City employees,” Porzio said in his ruling.

The judge went on to point out the fact that COVID-19 vaccination does not stop the virus from spreading. He also quoted President Biden’s interview with 60 minutes in which he said “the pandemic is over.”

Porzio also noted that New York City terminated its COVID-19 emergency declaration over a month ago. “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,” the judge continued in his ruling.

The city of New York has pushed back on rehiring the axed workers despite the ruling.

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Cullen McCue