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Senior Counsel Michael Del Piano Prohibits New York State Department of Health from Terminating Employee for Not Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine in Arbitration Before AAA

Posted: October 19, 2022

Senior Counsel Michael J. Del Piano recently won an arbitration against the New York State Department of Health (DOH) regarding its requirement that certain employees in DOH regulated facilities (i.e., hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) receive the COVID-19 vaccination or lose their jobs. DOH sought to terminate the employee, who objected to receiving the COVID-19 vaccination because of sincerely held religious beliefs, based upon DOH Regulation 2.61. In the arbitration, Michael argued that DOH did not have just cause to terminate the employee because she was not covered under Regulation 2.61 as a DOH employee. The arbitrator agreed, finding that Regulation 2.61 applied only to employees at DOH regulated facilities, not DOH’s field staff. Accordingly, the arbitrator found the employee not guilty of the charges alleged in the Notice of Discipline and restored her to her position with full back pay and benefits.