NYC Teachers Lose Emergency Request to Block Vaccine Mandate
(Bloomberg) -- A group of New York City public school employees lost a bid for an immediate halt to the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate.
U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil ruled Tuesday that the nine employees had failed to show they were likely to succeed in their claims that the U.S. Constitution blocks New York from enforcing the requirement. She did raise the possibility that the manner in which the city applies a religious exemption from the mandate “may well raise serious constitutional issues” as the case goes forward.
Vyskocil said teachers and other Department of Education employees later found to have been wrongly suspended for declining to be vaccinated could claim lost pay, while a ruling to let them back into schools could expose children to an increased risk of contracting the disease, which the city’s mandate was intended to avoid.
“If that harm happens, it’s a harm that cannot be undone,” she said.
The ruling comes amid a national debate over mandates put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus. President Joe Biden has ordered federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated and directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to draft a rule that companies with at least 100 employees must require vaccines or weekly tests. Several legal challenges have been mounted against the mandates.
Vyskocil noted that the employees had filed their emergency request only after the city began enforcing the mandate and without time for the city to file a full opposition to their request.
The next hearing in the case is set for Oct. 12.
The case is Kane v. de Blasio, 21-cv-07863, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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