A New York federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the state’s vaccine mandate for medical workers.
U.S. District Judge David Hurd issued an order temporarily barring the state’s Department of Health from enforcing or otherwise requiring compliance with the vaccine mandate since it does not grant religious exemptions.
A hearing for a preliminary injunction is slated for Sept. 22.
The ruling comes after a group of 17 medical workers sued the state on Monday asking to enjoin the order.
The complaint argued that the mandate violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protections.
The suit also argues that the mandate violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on factors like religion, gender, race, and national origin.
In mid-August, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that health care employees will have to start their vaccination process by Sept. 27. This applied to staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Cuomo’s administration said at the time that the vaccine mandate would come with limited exceptions for religious and medical reasons.
However, the most recent rule adopted by the New York Department of Health in late August provides for covered workers to obtain medical exemptions but doesn’t have a provision for religious exemptions.
The suit named New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), New York Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker, and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).
James’s office referred comment on the suit to the New York Department of Health, which didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
The Hill has reached out to Hochul’s office for comment.Internet Explorer Channel Network