“An NYPD cop who sued over the city’s COVID vaccine mandate can’t be fired for not having the jab, according to a new “precedent-setting” ruling that could help more than 20 other police officers in their cases,” the New York Post reports.
A Manhattan judge said Officer Alexander Deletto, 43, should be allowed to keep his job.
The judge noted in a Tuesday ruling that the city gave the Brooklyn cop no explanation for why it rejected his religious exemption application.
“This is the first such ruling in an NYPD officer’s case fighting their possible firing over the mandate, according to attorney James Mermigis, who is representing Deletto and has been dubbed “the anti-shutdown” lawyer for taking on a slew of pandemic-related litigation,” The Post adds.
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“It’s a precedent-setting case,” Mermigis said of Deletto’s lawsuit.
“It’s the first of its kind.”
— New York Post (@nypost) September 14, 2022
NYPD Cop gets job back in the courts
Can't be fired over jabhttps://t.co/EV8LUrNsm6
— Teachers for Choice (@teacher_choice) September 14, 2022
From the New York Post:
The city first denied the request for religious exemption from Deletto, who is Catholic, on Feb. 15, and later shot down his appeal with only “does not meet criteria” given as an explanation, according to his lawsuit.
“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,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth ruled.
“There is no indication that anybody even read [Deletto’s] arguments,” the judge wrote, adding, “It is the duty of the agency to explain why it made the decision.”
Deletto — a nine-year veteran of the force who works out of the 88th Precinct in Clinton Hill — filed suit the day before he was set to be fired on Aug. 5 for not getting vaccinated.
Bluth then granted a temporary restraining order, allowing the father of five to stay on the force pending her decision.
“His biggest concern when he wandered into my office in early August was how he was going to support his children,” Mermigis told The Post Wednesday. “He didn’t know what he was going to do, but under no circumstances was he going to betray his religious beliefs.”
Mermigis said his client was “elated” at the judge’s decision that he can keep his job and remain unvaccinated.
“He feels vindicated,” the attorney said, adding that Deletto can now breathe “a big sigh of relief.”
Mermigis has filed more than 20 cases on behalf of cops opposing their termination for not getting the jab.
Mermigis hopes that this decision will help in his other cases – since those cops also were not given explanations for why their religious exemption requests were denied.
It remains to be seen how the “precedent-setting” ruling will help other NYC city workers who lost their jobs over the COVID-19 jab mandates – such as firefighters, teachers, sanitation, and healthcare workers.
Ex-FDNY Captain Brendan Fogarty, who lost his job due to NYC’s COVID-19 jab mandates, delivered a fiery speech at a Friday NYC Council meeting.
"As of July, more than 1,750 city workers were fired for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine — including at least 36 from the NYPD," The Post stated.