New York’s Richmond County Supreme Court recently ordered workers fired for refusing to take the vaccine and whose requests for exemptions were denied the reinstated with back pay. One of the most important statements made by the court was that being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting Covid 19.
Being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting Covid-19. As of the day of this Decision, CDC guidelines regarding quarantine and isolation are the same for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. The Petitioners should not have been terminated for choosing not to protect themselves.
Moreover, the court stated that the mandates were more about compliance than public health.
The vaccination mandate for City employees was not just about safety and public health; it was about compliance. If it was about safety and public health, unvaccinated workers would have been placed on leave the moment the order was issued. If it was about safety and public health, the Health Commissioner would have issued city-wide mandates for vaccination for all residents… we shouldn’t be penalizing people who showed up to work, at great risk to themselves and their families, while we were locked down. If it was about safety and public health, no one would be exempt. It’s time for the City of New York to do what is right and what is just… The terminated Petitioners are hereby reinstated to their full employment status, effective October 25, 2022, at 6:00AM.
The court further found that the vaccine mandate was arbitrary and capricious:
All but one of the Petitioners applied for exemptions from the mandate. They received vague and generalized denials. During that time their exemptions were being processed, they remained unvaccinated. There was no reason they could not continue to submit to testing and continue to fulfill their duties as public employees. There was no reason the City of New York could not continue with a vaccinate or test policy… the vaccination mandate for public and private employees is arbitrary and capricious.
The court also stressed that a state of emergency is meant to be temporary and short-lived, a legal fact informing the decision.
States of emergency are meant to be temporary. The question presented is whether the Health Commissioner has the authority to enact a permanent condition of employment during a state of emergency. This Court finds the Health Commissioner does not have that authority and … the Petitioners herein should not have been terminated for their failure to comply with the Commissioner’s Order during a temporary state of emergency.
Finally, the light of reason and liberty begins to awaken and emerge like dawn after dusk.