Judge blocks vaccinate mandate for NYC cops; City appeals ruling

Judge blocks vaccinate mandate for NYC cops; City appeals ruling
Delta variant: different from SARS-CoV2, perhaps, but symptoms like the common cold. CDC/LU Staff mage

A judge in Manhattan ruled Friday that New York City couldn’t fire members of its largest police force, or put them on leave, for not getting vaccinated for the coronavirus.

New York City immediately appealed the judge’s ruling in favor of the Police Benevolent Association.

The judge ruled city officials lacked the legal authority to fire members of the union over this. New York State Supreme Court Judge Lyle Frank said it was “undisputed” that the city could legislate vaccine mandates. But the judge ruled municipal officials overstepped their authority by unilaterally creating a new condition of employment, as opposed to going through collective bargaining.

Frank ordered the reinstatement of union members who were “wrongfully” terminated or put on unpaid leave for refusing to get vaccinated. The city immediately filed a notice of appeal, freezing the judge’s decision until the appeal is heard.

“This decision confirms what we have said from the start: the vaccine mandate was an improper infringement on our members’ right to make personal medical decisions in consultation with their own health care professionals,” said union president Patrick Lynch. “We will continue to fight to protect those rights.

 The city’s Law Department claimed the ruling “is at odds with every other court decision upholding the mandate as a condition of employment.” Neither the city nor the union has publicly released how many union members have been been placed on leave or fired over the mandate.

The court’s ruling came a few days after Mayor Eric Adams stated that New York City was ending its coronavirus vaccine requirement for private sector employees on November 1.

In New York, the state supreme court, on which Judge Frank sits, is the trial court of general jurisdiction, not the top court. The highest court in New York State is called the Court of Appeals. Cases are appealed first to one of four departments of the Appellate Division (one for each of the four regions of New York), and then to the state Court of Appeals. New York City has appealed Judge Frank’s decision to the First Department of the Appellate Division.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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