Vaccine refusal leads New York courts to fire 103 workers, ban 4 judges from courthouses

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The New York state court system has fired 103 employees and banned four judges from courthouses for refusing to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

One of the four judges is Judge Jenny Rivera of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s top court, courts spokesperson Lucian Chalfen confirmed to the Associated Press.

“She is not in compliance with the court’s vaccination policy,” he said.

The banned judges are facing possible discipline for refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate, report Law360, Reuters and Bloomberg Law. The judges can’t be fired.

“We had made it clear from the outset that any judge not in and continuing not to be in compliance subjects themselves to a referral to the Commission on Judicial Conduct for their determination,” Chalfen said in a statement cited by Reuters and the AP.

Rivera has been hearing oral arguments remotely. She did not comment when the publications contacted her chambers.

The court system had initially notified 156 employees that they would be fired if they did not comply with the vaccination requirement by the deadline. Forty-one employees got vaccinated, one resigned and 11 retired.

Unions argue that the firings violate collective bargaining agreements. The unions’ case is being heard by the New York Public Employment Relations Board, according to Reuters.

Four unvaccinated court reporters had challenged the policy in a lawsuit, but it was dropped in March. Lead plaintiff Cheryl Ferrelli filed a new case Wednesday, according to Law360.

A separate case filed by about 100 court employees is pending.

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