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New York judge strikes down 'arbitrary and capricious' vaccine mandate for workers

New York City almost immediately appealed the judge's order.

Published: October 25, 2022 12:19pm

Updated: October 25, 2022 1:35pm

New York judge has struck down what it calls an "arbitrary and capricious" COVID-19 vaccine mandate for New York City workers, in a ruling that reinstates employees fired for not being vaccinated and entitles them to back pay.

"The petitioners should not have been terminated for choosing not to protect themselves," Richmond County Judge Ralph Porzio wrote in his ruling Monday, in response to the case filed by 16 New York City employees after they were fired for not taking the vaccine. 

"The vaccination mandate for [New York] City employees was not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance," he also said.

The judge acknowledged that the city health commissioner has the authority to issue public health mandates but said the commissioner could not "create a new condition of employment for City employees" or "terminate employees."

Porzio said the petitioners would be reinstated to full employment effective Tuesday, but it is unclear whether this has occurred.

The city has appealed the ruling.

New York City dropped its private-sector vaccine mandate last month. 

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