Metro

NYC federal judge rejects bid to nix vax mandate for DOE workers

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A Manhattan federal judge Tuesday struck down a request by 10 city Department of Education employees to suspend the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place for all department workers.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer had argued, in part, that the way the vaccine mandate has been implemented by the city is unconstitutional because it discriminates against DOE employees who have sought a religious exemption outside of dogmas of popular religions, while granting exemptions to those from more mainstream faiths.

The ruling came hours after a federal judge in upstate New York barred the state from imposing its vaccine mandate on medical workers with a legitimate religious exemption.

In the case of the New York City education workers, Judge Valerie Caproni ruled at the end of an hourslong hearing that the employees, represented by lawyer Sujata Sidhu Gibson, had failed to prove their case on a host of standards she needed to consider when deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction against the city mandate.

New York City’s mandate went into effect earlier this month, and reportedly approximately 95 percent of the city’s educators have had at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

A lawyer for the city, Lora Minicucci, noted that the DOE has granted religious exemptions to employees from at least 20 separate faiths.

Caproni ruled, in part, that Gibson had failed to provide any evidence that elected officials who oversaw the mandate had made any statements that showed religious animus. The judge also said there was no proof presented to show the vaccine mandate had not been applied neutrally to all employees.

People gather for a protest outside of a preliminary injunction hearing at a United States Courthouse about New York City mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for public school employees in New York, New York, USA, 12 October 2021.
A lawyer for the city noted that the DOE has granted religious exemptions to employees.
EPA/JUSTIN LANE

In the earlier upstate ruling, Justice David Hurd granted a preliminary injunction against the state implementing the vaccine to medical workers who claimed a religious exemption. He had granted a temporary restraining order against the move last month.

Many of the medical workers who did not get the vaccine were placed on leave pending a ruling by Hurd.

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Kathy Lewis

Kathy Lewis is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of Editorials99.

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