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New York City to Abide by Judge’s Ruling on Vaccine Mandate — For Now

September 27, 2022 by TWN Staff
(Photo by Dan McCue)

NEW YORK — The city of New York will abide by a judge’s order barring enforcement of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of its largest police union while the decision is being appealed.

On Friday, Manhattan State Supreme Court Judge Lyle Frank ruled the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s vaccination mandate couldn’t be used to fire or put Police Benevolent Association members on leave.

In his ruling, Frank wrote that the vaccine mandate is “invalid to the extent it has been used to impose a new condition of employment to current PBA members.”

Frank also ordered the reinstatement of any PBA member who has already been fired or put on unpaid leave for refusing to get vaccinated.

The city has vowed to appeal the ruling, but for now appears to be making nice with the nation’s largest police union, telling PBA President Pat Lynch that “no member of the Police Benevolent Association [would] be placed on leave without pay or terminated due to their non-compliance with the vaccine mandate.”

In a letter to his members, Lynch said the union is happy the city has decided to comply with the court order to the extent that it has, but that it would “continue to press for the city’s full compliance, including the reinstatement of any members who were terminated.”

Immediately after Frank’s ruling, Lynch said the 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. We will continue to fight to protect those rights.”

But a spokesman for the city said it intends to see the ruling overturned in its entirety.

As for where things stand now, he said, “The city’s appeal puts the portion of the decision calling for the reinstatement of unvaccinated officers on hold until the appeal is decided. For technical legal reasons, the part of the ruling which prevents the NYPD from terminating or placing unvaccinated officers on leave without pay is in effect until the court decides the appeal.”

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