An MTA worker is seen wearing a mask on the subway in New York City. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

New York must allow religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandate, judge rules

Oct 12 (Reuters) – A federal judge dominated on Tuesday that New York state can not impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on healthcare employees with out permitting their employers to contemplate religious exemption requests.

U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Albany, New York, dominated that the state’s office vaccination requirement conflicted with healthcare employees’ federally protected proper to search religious lodging from their employers.

The ruling gives a take a look at case as vaccine mandate opponents gear up to battle plans by President Joe Biden’s administration to lengthen COVID-19 inoculation necessities to tens of thousands and thousands of unvaccinated People.

Vaccines have turn into extremely politicized in the USA, the place solely 66% of People are vaccinated, nicely wanting the preliminary targets of the Biden administration.

Seventeen healthcare employees opposed to the mandate sued, saying the requirement violated their rights beneath the U.S. Structure and a federal civil rights regulation requiring employers to moderately accommodate workers’ religious beliefs.

Hurd agreed, saying the state’s order “clearly” conflicted with their proper to search religious lodging.

“The court rightly recognized that yesterday’s ‘front line heroes’ in dealing with COVID cannot suddenly be treated as disease-carrying villains and kicked to the curb by the command of a state health bureaucracy,” stated Christopher Ferrara, a lawyer for the employees on the conservative Thomas Extra Society.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, vowed in an announcement to battle the choice, saying her “responsibility as governor is to protect the people of this state, and requiring health care workers to get vaccinated accomplishes that.”

No less than 24 states have imposed vaccine necessities on employees, often in healthcare.

New York’s Division of Well being on Aug. 26 ordered healthcare professionals to be vaccinated by Sept. 27 and the order didn’t allow for the customary religious exemptions.

Hurd issued a brief restraining order on Sept. 14 in favor of the employees whereas he thought-about whether or not to situation a preliminary injunction.

Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Nate Raymond in Boston; Modifying by Noeleen Walder and Peter Cooney

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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