Created: November 12, 2021 03:28 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A group of New York healthcare workers is asking the United States Supreme Court to issue an emergency injunction allowing religious exemptions to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
Thomas More Society attorneys are arguing that the mandate is a violation of their clients' First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.
The vaccine mandate was originally announced by former governor Andrew Cuomo, who set the date for it to go into effect as Sept. 27. A judge put a temporary stay on the order, allowing employees to claim religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate, triggering an ongoing court battle. Different judges have ruled with the employees as well as with the state, with both sides appealing decisions.
Most recently, a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan sided with the state, lifting the requirement for employers to honor religious exemptions.
As of Nov. 10, 2021, more than 33,000 of the state's 1 million healthcare workers are considered "inactive." That includes nearly 13,000 who were terminated, about 3,700 who resigned or retired because they were unvaccinated and nearly 12,000 employees who were put on leave because they are not vaccinated.
Counsel of record on the SCOTUS filing Thomas Brejcha said New York is an outlier, with 47 and the federal government allowing religious exemptions.
Read the full Emergency Application for Writ of Injunction below:
Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company