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NYC vaccine mandate likely to avoid legal challenges

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Rachel Rhodes

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that all private sector employers in New York City will be required to implement a vaccine mandate by Dec. 27, effectively requiring any person working in the city to be vaccinated. The move comes as President Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors was blocked by a federal judge in Georgia.


Risa Lieberwitz

Risa Lieberwitz

Professor of Labor and Employment Law

Risa Lieberwitz is a professor of labor and employment law at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and academic director of the Worker Institute.

Lieberwitz says: 

“There are many questions left to be addressed with Mayor de Blasio’s announcement, including the enforcement mechanisms for such a mandate and whether Mayor-elect Adams will support the mandate. It is also likely that there will be lawsuits filed challenging the mandate.

“Legal challenges have been brought in federal courts seeking to enjoin enforcement of the federal OSHA rule mandating that large employers require their employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. These legal challenges argue that the mandates issued by President Biden exceed the authority granted to them under federal legislation.

“However, such legal challenges would not apply to states or cities, which have been found by the courts to exercise broad authority to adopt measures to protect the public health. Thus, New York City has a strong argument that its vaccine mandate protects the health and safety of employees, customers, and clients.”

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