Teachers in New York City, who were fired for refusing to comply with Covid vaccine mandates, must be given their jobs back and awarded full backpay, a judge has ruled.
The case was taken to the State Supreme Court by 10 employees of the New York City Education Department.
State Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio ruled that the decision to fire the teachers and deny them religious exemptions was unlawful, arbitrary, and capricious.
The group included school principals, teachers, and other educators.
They sued the city after they were fired over the draconian mandates.
In his 22-page opinion, the judge blasted the city for forcing teachers to get vaccinated against their will.
“This Court sees no rational basis for not allowing unvaccinated classroom teachers in amongst an admitted population of primarily unvaccinated students,” Porzio wrote.
“As such, the decision to summarily deny the classroom teachers amongst the Panel Petitioners based on 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.”
The court ruled that the 10 public school employees are entitled to be re-hired in their positions and receive backpay in salaries, benefits, pensions, and seniority.
New York City’s Covid vaccine mandate for public school workers only ended on February 10 of this year.
The mandate began on October 1, 2021, and saw most of the city’s teachers forced into taking the experimental mRNA injections.
The court’s decision only applies to the 10 educators who sued.
However, thousands of other education workers lost their jobs due to the vaccine mandate, according to Fox News.
The petitioners had wanted to make their lawsuit a class action suit, but the judge denied that request.
Seven other petitioners were also requesting an exemption along with their jobs back with back pay, but the judge denied their requests.
One of those denied was a group called Teachers for Choice, which opposes forced vaccination.
“Although the petitioners’ overall position is that the citywide panel did not provide relief to the vast majority of initial DOE applicants, and specifically that these petitioners did seek that review, the record before this court is insufficient to make any determination as to those claims,” Porzio wrote in his ruling.
According to court documents in the case, the city had argued that “granting reasonable accommodation to classroom teachers could not be done without preventing a risk to the vulnerable and still primarily unvaccinated student population.”
The judge also cited New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ decision to scrap the vaccine mandate for athletes and entertainers as evidence that the vaccine mandate for public school teachers was arbitrary and unreasonable.
The same judge ruled last year in favor of a Staten Island firefighter who was fired for refusing to take the Covid shots.
“Hindsight is a powerful tool,” Porzio wrote in that decision.
“The pandemic today is not what it was a year, or even two years ago.
“Being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19.”
Scores of public and private employers across the country implemented a vaccine mandate for employees when the Covid injections became available.
Many U.S. workers across industries who requested exceptions for religious or health reasons were denied their requests.
The Biden administration also attempted to require employers with at least 100 employees to require the vaccine.
However, the Supreme Court blocked Biden’s mandate early last year after the administration was sued.