When the shots to protect Americans from the COVID-19 virus came available, they were marketed as offering protection against the virus as well as preventing the infection from spreading to others. Despite evidence to the contrary, several local governments and even the federal government attempted to coerce residents by keeping their employment hostage during the pandemic. Many quit their jobs or lost them as a result of refusing the jab.
Some individuals had medical conditions that would prevent them from receiving any vaccinations, some had concerns about the shot itself, and still others insisted on a religious exemption that had previously been granted.
In New York, immunizations became obligatory, and among those let go because of the requirement to obtain the injection was a group of 16 sanitation workers. According to the directive issued by former Mayor Bill Dede Blasio and implemented by current Mayor Eric Adams, New York City alone fired over 1,400 employees for not having the required immunizations. Police officers and firefighters made up a large portion of such workers.
Mayor Adams of New York granted an exception to artists and athletes in March despite punishing city workers for refusing to be shot, presumably to prevent money-making attractions like big athletic events and live performances from abruptly ceasing operations if those groups objected to the shot. Furious criticism of the unfair “double standard” followed.
The sanitation workers sued the city for firing them when others were exempted. The New York Supreme Court now concurs that the dismissal of these employees was illegal.
According to a Staten Island judge’s decision this week, not all municipal employees need to get immunized.
After allowing vaccine exemptions for artists and athletes, the court partially sided with the sanitation employees. “In March, when Mayor Adams made that exclusion he invalidated the entire vaccine mandate. So that was the main premise of our case.” according to Chad Laveglia, an attorney for the sanitation workers.
Justice Ralph Porzio of the Staten Island Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the city’s vaccination policy against the 16 sanitation workers who are suing it is arbitrary and capricious.
The judgement states “Being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting Covid-19.”
According to the judge “petitioners should not have been terminated” and that “If it was about public safety and health, no one would be exempt.”
Since the shots were made available, this precise idea has been contested, but now a high court has made it clear.
The unprecedented decision would require back pay and restore fired unvaccinated workers. The group of sanitation workers who were let off because they disobeyed the city’s vaccination requirement can now breathe easier, albeit the exact amount of back pay is still being determined.
According to Laveglia, the attorney for the sanitation employees, “After he announced his decision, there were claps cries, tears.”
New York City still appears to be hoping to continue just selectively enforcing its obligations on its inhabitants with relation to the shot. A law department spokesman issued the following statement:
“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. In the meantime, the mandate remains in place as this ruling pertains solely to the individual petitioners in this case. We continue to review the court’s decision, which conflicts with numerous other rulings already upholding the mandate.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
President Joe Biden was asked about the ruling while getting his COVID shot and called it a “local judgment.” His own vaccine mandates focused on the federal workforce and employees at large companies.
New York City had not only enforced mandates for city workers but had levied a mandate on private workers as well. The first such mandate in the nation took effect on December 27, 2021. Mayor Eric Adams had enforced that mandate after he took office.
Finally, on September 20. 2022, the mayor announced that New York City’s private sector vaccine mandate would become optional for businesses beginning on November 1. On that day the Mayor also spoke of ‘flexibility’ for private businesses and students while at the same time launching a COVID-19 booster campaign, encouraging vaccinations for all. CONTINUE READING…