Wednesday, a New York state magistrate reportedly ruled that ten New York City Department of Education employees who were terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine must be reinstated with back pay.
State Supreme Court Judge Ralph J. Porzio ruled (pdf) that the city’s denial of religious exemptions to certain municipal teachers was unconstitutional, capricious, and arbitrary, a victory for opponents of vaccine mandates.
Principals, instructors, and other school employees filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, supported by the anti-mandate Children’s Health Defense, after their request for a religious exemption from the mandate was denied.
The judge also criticized the city’s claim that granting classroom instructors a religious exemption would impose an undue burden on the city, labeling the claim “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”
In the order, he granted relief to ten plaintiffs who had accomplished the administrative requirements for exemption requests. Six plaintiffs were denied relief because they had not completed the administrative procedure.
As part of his judgment, Judge Porzio mentioned Mayor Eric Adams’ decision to lift a vaccination requirement for certain private employees in 2022, including celebrities and athletes.
He stated that the decision demonstrated that the mandate for public employees was made arbitrarily.