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New York Judge Orders City to Re-Hire Sanitation Workers and Give Provide Back Pay The group of sanitation workers sued after being fired in February for not getting vaccinated.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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New York State Supreme Court.

A judge ruled on Tuesday that New York City must re-hire and pay back wages to several sanitation workers who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

"Though vaccination should be encouraged, public employees should not have been terminated for their noncompliance," wrote state Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio.

The group of sanitation workers sued after being fired in February for not getting vaccinated.

Mayor Eric Adams, who took office in January, dropped NYC's private sector vaccination requirement, which was first implemented by a prior administration. It will end on November 1. But, his office has maintained the one for City employees.

The mayor's office has said 1,761 city workers have been fired for not getting vaccinated.

However, the city did add a carveout to NYC's private-sector policy in March for people like artists and performers. Judge Porzio also took issue with that.

"There is nothing in the record to support the rationality of keeping a vaccination mandate for public employees while vacating the mandate for private sector employees or creating a carveout for certain professions, like athletes, artists, and performers," he wrote.

He said that the administration is basically treating people, who share in common that they are unvaccinated, differently, for no reason.

Porzio is a Republican judge who sits in Staten Island. New York's Supreme Court generally hears trial cases that are not in the jurisdiction of other, less expansive trial courts, and its members are elected. Higher-up courts are able to review its decisions, the Washington Post noted.

The City is appealing the decision. A spokesperson for the New York City Law Department told the outlet it "strongly disagrees with this ruling as the mandate is firmly grounded in law and is critical to New Yorkers' public health."

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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