NY judge strikes down COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees, orders reinstatement of petitioners with back pay

by Jacob Fuller

Jacob Fuller, FISM News


A New York Supreme Court judge struck down New York City’s employee vaccine mandate on Monday and ordered all petitioners in the case to be reinstated with full back pay starting from the day of their termination.

Judge Ralph J. Porzio of the Richmond County Supreme Court in the 13th Judicial District of New York ruled that the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all city employees was unconstitutional, arbitrary, and capricious.

George Garvey and 15 other former employees of the New York City Department of Sanitation petitioned the Staten Island court on July 20 after they were fired for refusing to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Attorney Chad LaVeglia represented the petitioners.

“It’s null and void, essentially. We just defeated the vaccine mandate for every single city employee, not just sanitation,” LaVeglia said outside the courthouse. “All the brave men and women who have been our first responders and have been brave through all this are now free and should be able to go back to work.”

As of mid-September, nearly 2,000 New York City employees were fired for refusing the vaccine including hundreds of teachers, law enforcement, and first responders, according to the New York Post.

According to the ruling, all petitioners in the case “are hereby reinstated to their full employment status, effective October 25, 2022, at 6 a.m.” They also “are entitled to back pay in salary from the date of termination.”

The Petitioners have until Nov. 10 to “submit a proposed judgment regarding back pay consistent with” the decision.

It is worth noting that the Supreme Court is not the highest court in the New York court system. It is likely that the city will appeal the ruling to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and/or the New York State Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in the state.