New York City Hit with Class Action Lawsuits Over School Vaccine Mandate For Employees
Two class action lawsuits have been filed against New York City over its back-to-school COVID-19 policy — a school vaccine mandate that compels all public school employees to get vaccinated without an opt-out choice through weekly coronavirus testing.
Rachel Maniscalco v. New York City Department of Education, et al.
Unions’ Take on Mandatory Vaccination
On Friday, a coalition of unions — including those of District 37, the United Federation of Teachers, as well as Teamsters Local 237 — sued the city, alleging that their rights were violated.
A legal firm charged New York City, the Department of Education (DOE), as well as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on Friday over the mandate, which demands all public school employees to at least receive one dosage of the COVID-19 vaccination by September 27.
Meanwhile, an independent arbitrator released a decision on Friday that addressed several of the charges brought by teachers, including their unions.
Class Actions Demands to Meet Halfway with the Mandatory School Vaccination
The teachers’ unions say they favor vaccination and encourage all personnel to do so whenever possible, but they believe that the school vaccine mandate, as initially proposed, is coercive because staff who opt out must take unpaid leave or use sick leave.
Union representatives emphasized that the majority of workers cannot afford to lose their salaries, benefits, or pensions.
The primary component that needs to be challenged in order to avoid setting a precedent is a local government attempting to justify terminating employees due to a vaccine mandate, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew remarked at a press conference Friday.
They are willing to work but require accommodations and appropriate exemptions.
According to reports from the United Federation of Teachers, the city has failed to accommodate teachers who have legitimate medical or religious reasons to be exempted from the mandate and has instead refused to offer them the alternative of weekly testing or online/remote instruction.
The Federation further reports that city negotiators have stated that individuals with medical concerns can remain on the payroll and spend up their sick days before being moved on unpaid leave, whereas those religious objections would be immediately placed on unpaid leave, rendering them without salary or health insurance.
Independent Arbitrator Rules in Favor for Those with Valid Excuse
An independent arbitrator ruled Friday that teachers in New York City who are excused from vaccination due to medical or religious reasons must be assigned non-classroom duties.
Those who opt-out of the school vaccine mandate for non-medical reasons must be offered unpaid leave, including health insurance or a severance compensation with the possibility to reapply, an arbitrator said in addressing the United Teachers Federation’s allegations.
The class suits are being brought on behalf of city and state employees around the country who are challenging various employer, government, and other school vaccination mandates.
Editor’s Note on New York City School Vaccine Mandate Class Action Lawsuit:
This article is written to inform you of the class action lawsuits filed against the City of New York over requiring school employees to receive vaccination without an opt-out choice to have weekly testing for Covid-19. You might also be interested in the New Mexico State Fair Class Action over a similar mandate.
Case Name & No.: Rachel Maniscalco v. New York City Department of Education, et al.
Jurisdiction: US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Products/Services: Covid-19 vaccination
Allegations: New York City mandates schools to have their employees vaccinated, a violation of their civil rights.
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