A federal judge has decided on Tuesday that NY state must recognize religious exemptions to their covid vaccine mandate in the healthcare sector, according to court filings.
U.S. Judge David Hurd said on Tuesday that this mandate goes against “individuals’ protected right to seek religious accommodation from their employers,” giving a preliminary injunction to the court plaintiffs, according to these documents. In response to the New York vaccination mandate, 17 anonymous healthcare employees filed a lawsuit challenging the NY State Dept. of Health.
The only way we can move past this pandemic is to ensure that everyone eligible is vaccinated.
New York is first in the nation to implement a health care worker vaccine mandate.
Let’s continue leading the way and keeping New Yorkers safe & healthy. 5/5
— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 28, 2021
The judge also put limitations on the NY State Dept. of Health, stating that it “is blocked from interfering with the giving of religious exemptions from coronavirus vaccination going forward, or with exemptions already given,” court documents reveal.
The ruling comes after Governor Kathy Hochul’s comment denying the legitimacy of these religious exemptions during her briefing in September. She said that “There are no legitimate religious exemptions since the leaders of all religions have said there is no legitimate reason,” and that “we are going to win in court in the few days.”
After the implementation of the vaccine mandate on September, thousands of NY healthcare workers who refused to get the vaccine lost their jobs.
“With this ruling, the court recognized that the ‘front line heroes’ handling COVID-19 cannot suddenly be treated as villains and kicked to the curb by the state health bureaucracy,” said Christopher Ferrara, an attorney from the Thomas More Society representing NY state healthcare employees, The NY Times reported.
“My responsibility as the Governor is to guard the people in this state, and forcing health care workers to get a vaccine accomplishes this. I stand behind the vaccine mandate, and I will fight this ruling in court to keep people in New York safe,” Hochul said in a comment on Tuesday in response to Hurd’s ruling.
This comes following a “sick out” being waged by Southwest airline pilots this week. The protest was done to stop a vaccine mandate from being enforced onto employees of Southwest. As a result of this, thousands of flights were canceled. Although the company and the White House have not admitted this was the cause of the cancellations.
Author: Steven Sinclaire