New York City’s controversial Covid-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers was enacted illegally, according to a decision by a New York State judge who ruled all employees who were fired for refusing to comply must be immediately reinstated — with full back pay.
“It is time for the City of New York to do what is right and what is just,” Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio wrote in a decision made public Tuesday.
Thousands of New York City workers were fired for refusing to get vaccinated, including 36 members of the NYPD and more than 950 Department of Education employees.
In his 13-page ruling, Porzio said then-city Health Commissioner David Chokshi’s Oct. 20, 2021, order “violates the separation of powers doctrine” enshrined in the state constitution.
Chokshi also violated the workers’ “substantive and procedural due process rights” and didn’t have “the power and authority to permanently exclude [them] from their workplace,” Porzio said.
And Chokshi’s order, another that extended the mandate to private employers and a related executive order issued by Mayor Eric Adams were “arbitrary and capricious” in violation of state law, the judge said. Adams’ March 24 executive order exempted athletes and performing artists from the vaccine mandate.
“The vaccination mandate for City employees was not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance,” Porzio wrote.
“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 all residents.”
NYPost report: Porzio also noted the Big Apple’s “nearly 80% vaccination rate” before saying that “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 ruling came in response to a suit filed earlier this year by 16 former Sanitation Department workers who were fired in February for refusing to get vaccinated and only applies to them.
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