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NYC workers fired over COVID vaccine requirement will be reinstated, given back pay

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The New York Supreme Court ruled this week for New York City workers who were fired over their refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine be reinstated to their positions, and receive back pay for missed time at their jobs.

Republican Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio ruled that the city’s previous vaccine mandate was “arbitrary and capricious” and ordered NYC to rehire workers who were terminated over non-compliance. “It is time for the City of New York to do what is right and what is just,” wrote Porzio in his ruling. 

Porzio ruled that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers “violates the separation of powers doctrine” enshrined in the state constitution,” tossing the mandate instated by former NYC Health Commissioner David Chokshi.

Porzio says Chokshi’s mandate also violated workers’ “substantive and procedural due process rights” and lacked “the power and authority to permanently exclude [them] from their workplace.”

The city is appealing the ruling, which states the city health commissioner “cannot create a new condition of employment for City employees,” or “prohibit an employee from reporting to work” or fire them.

According to the office of Mayor Eric Adams, 1,761 city employees were terminated for their failure to present proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by November of 2021.

The city responded in a statement from the New York Law City Law Department, saying New York City “strongly disagrees with this ruling as the mandate is firmly grounded in law and is critical to New Yorkers’ public health.”

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