A New York Police Department officer can't be fired for not having been vaccinated against COVID-19, a judge in Manhattan has ruled.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth ruled on Tuesday that officer Alexander Deletto should be permitted to keep his job, according to the New York Post. She said the city did not provide the Brooklyn-based cop with an explanation on why it rejected his application for a religious exemption.
The newspaper said the ruling could aid nearly 24 police officers who have filed similar cases.
"It's a precedent-setting case," said James Mermigis, who represents Deletto. "It's the first of its kind."
Deletto, who is Catholic, was initially denied a religious exemption from the city's vaccine mandate on Feb. 15. The city later turned down his appeal, saying it "does not meet criteria," his lawsuit said.
"The hollow and generic phrase 'does not meet criteria' cannot be rational because not a single item particular to [Deletto] was discussed and not a single reason for the decision was given," Bluth ruled.
"There is no indication that anybody even read [Deletto's] arguments. It is the duty of the agency to explain why it made the decision."
The Post noted that as of July, more than 1,750 city workers were fired for not getting the vaccine. Deletto's case is just one of many that have resulted in lawsuits over the city vaccine mandate.
A spokesman from the New York City Law Department told the newspaper: "A court has previously upheld the NYPD's reasonable accommodation process, ruling it complies with all applicable laws.
"Both the NYPD and a citywide appeals panel carefully reviewed this officer's accommodation request. The city is reviewing this decision and is considering its options."
Meanwhile, Politico reported that NYPD detective Anthony Marciano has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the city's vaccine mandate for municipal workers. His lawyers argue that Mayor Eric Adams' decision to grant an exemption to Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and other athletes and performers proves it's an arbitrary rule.
Jeffrey Rodack ✉
Jeffrey Rodack, who has nearly a half century in news as a senior editor and city editor for national and local publications, has covered politics for Newsmax for nearly seven years.
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