NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Dozens of New York City employees who were fired after they failed to comply with the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate have filed a $250 million lawsuit to overturn the mandate, according to court documents.
The 72 former workers are urging a judge to revoke the rule given that politicians, including President Biden, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Chuck Schumer, have argued that the pandemic "is over," according to a Bronx Supreme Court lawsuit from Thursday obtained by the New York Post.
Many of the dismissed employees, including those from the NYPD, FDNY, Department of Education, Department of Health and other agencies, claim to have worked for the city for more than 20 years but "were ‘thrown to the curb’ and callously terminated," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit claims that the city's continued enforcement of the mandate for public sector employees is "arbitrary and capricious," given that it has "been rescinded for nearly everyone else in New York City."
The suit adds that vaccinations only partially protect against viral transmission and mentions that some side effects have become more common among vaccination recipients. Those who haven't had a vaccination, however, "have passed COVID-19 and have natural immunity," according to the court documents.
Notably, while "vaccinated people sometimes get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19," being up to date on COVID-19 immunizations "substantially lowers the risk of getting very sick, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency also notes that "the benefits" of vaccination "outweigh the known and potential risks."
New York Supreme Court Judge Gerard Neri invalidated the mandate for healthcare workers last week, saying in his decision that the city cannot enforce a requirement that hasn't been approved by state lawmakers, according to the new lawsuit, which claims a mandate is "beyond the scope" of local government.
The lawsuit also adds that New York City violated city human rights legislation by "failing to engage in a cooperative discourse" with employees who requested religious and medical exemptions.
"Petitioners have been mocked for their religious beliefs," including by the city, court documents show.
The group is now seeking $250 million in punitive damages from the city.
The fired workers "have been unemployed for over a year, and most have lost their homes or the ability to support their families," according to court papers.
A total of 1,750 city employees, including 36 NYPD officers and more than 950 DOE staff, were let go for refusing to receive the vaccine, the Post reported.
The city's Law Department told the paper they will "review the case once served."