NY State Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio ruled on Wednesday that 10 employees of the New York City Department of Education who were fired for refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should be reinstated with back pay.
Judge Porzio’s 22-page opinion stated: “This Court sees no rational basis for not allowing unvaccinated classroom teachers in amongst an admitted population of primarily unvaccinated students. As such, the decision to summarily deny the classroom teachers amongst the Panel Petitioners based on an undue hardship, without any further evidence of individualized analysis, is arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable. As such, each classroom teacher amongst the Panel Petitioners is entitled to a religious exemption from the Vaccine Mandate.”
Altogether, an estimated 2,000 teachers were fired in NY State for refusing the vaccine, with many other teachers’ records being stamped with a code suggesting they are “troublemakers,” according to the NY Post.
The lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Sujata Gibson, said “The Court’s decision not only grants relief to these ten teachers, but it also sets an important precedent for all other teachers denied religious accommodation.”
Gibson noted that “the court’s ruling in the class certification still leaves the door open to future relief for thousands of teachers negatively affected by the vaccine requirement. We intend to file a motion of reconsideration on a narrower basis. Rather than waste public resources clogging the courts with so many individual lawsuits, legal action that will remedy these discriminatory policies for all impacted workers only makes sense.”