Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction for NY Healthcare Workers Seeking Religious Exemptions

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Posted: Oct 12, 2021 3:05 PM
Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction for NY Healthcare Workers Seeking Religious Exemptions

Source: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Northern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday against the state’s attempt to remove religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate on healthcare workers. 

According to the ruling, New York health officials are “barred from taking any action, disciplinary or otherwise, against the licensure, certification, residency, admitting privileges or other professional status or qualification of any of the plaintiffs on account of their seeking or having obtained a religious exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.”

Judge David Hurd’s ruling also says “the Department of Health is barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny or revoke any religious exemptions already granted.” Furthermore, the state “is barred from interfering with the granting of religious exemptions or with the operation of exemptions already granted.”

Liberty Counsel has filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of more than 1,500 New York health care workers against Governor Hochul, Dr. Zucker, Trinity Health, Inc., New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, Inc., and Westchester Medical Center Advanced Physician Services, P.C., to protect those employed by private employers who attempt to remove religious exemptions from the shot mandate. (Liberty Counsel)

The lawsuit is in response to the state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council removing religious exemptions from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s vaccine mandate on healthcare workers, which was announced Aug. 16 and allowed “limited exceptions for workers with religious or medical reasons.” Now, the rule change permits only those with a valid medical exemption.

“This is a great decision by the Northern District Court to recognize the irreparable harm of not allowing religious exemptions for New York health care workers who have sincerely held objections to the COVID shots,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement. “All New York health care workers have the legal right to request reasonable accommodation for their sincerely held religious beliefs, and forcing COVID shots without any religious exemptions is unlawful. Liberty Counsel looks forward to presenting this evidence in court on behalf of these health care employees who are being unlawfully bullied by private employers.”