No One You Know
New York Mandate Podcast
New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 38: Attorney Jo Saint-George

New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 38: Attorney Jo Saint-George

"We argue that they don't have that authority.": A conversation with the attorney leading a federal proposed class-action lawsuit by NYC workers who lost their jobs under the City's vaccine mandates.

“Lawyers have believed that Jacobson versus Massachusetts is still good law, and it's not. It has been overturned, or overruled, by the 1944 [Public Health Service] Act and by the OSHA Act, which set forth rules and protections that require states and employers to respect the First Amendment right of an individual to refuse medical care.” - Jo Saint-George

This post is public, so feel free to share it.


In this episode of the New York Mandate Podcast, I talk with Jo Saint-George, an attorney who is representing a group of New York City workers who were put on leave without pay or terminated under the City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates in a federal proposed class action lawsuit.

Saint-George talks with me about the case, Women of Color for Equal Justice et al v. The City of New York et al, and the arguments she makes on the basis of both the U.S. Constitution and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

Saint-George explains why a victory in court would invalidate mandates for employees nationwide and how she expects the legal process to proceed, and touches on another major lawsuit she’s putting together on the behalf of New York health care workers.

The New York Mandate Podcast and No One You Know are subscriber-supported. To receive new posts and support my work, become a free or paid subscriber.

More from Jo Saint-George:

Women of Color for Equal Justice
Jo Saint-George founded this organization and is its chief legal officer. The organization focuses on advocacy in healthcare policy, criminal justice reform, anti-sex trafficking policy, and economic development, and represents clients of all races and creeds in religious and healthcare freedom litigation.

Here are some links related to things we talked about during the episode:

Women of Color for Equal Justice et al v. The New York City et al
This proposed class action suit was filed on behalf of a group of former New York City municipal workers whose employment was suspended or terminated under the City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. (The full court documents are available via the federal court system’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records website, which requires an account and may charge a small fee for access to documents.)

Jacobson v. Massachusetts
This 1905 Supreme Court case upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws.

Occupational Safety and Health Act
This 1970 act is designed to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for a wide range of workers in the United States.

About the New York Mandate Podcast

The New York Mandate Podcast is an ongoing series of conversations exploring the costs and consequences of vaccine mandates in New York City. I talk with workers, students, and parents who have been directly affected by the mandates, as well as legal and policy experts.

In late 2021, the City introduced a series of requirements for workers and to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. These requirements were put in place through executive orders issued by the administration of former mayor Bill de Blasio. They covered nearly all workers in New York City, in both the public and private sectors. They also barred unvaccinated adults, including parents, from schools.

Current mayor Eric Adams kept the mandates in place until November 1, 2022 for the private sector and February 10, 2023 for City workers, and has encouraged private employers to put their own vaccine requirements in place.

The views expressed in the New York Mandate podcast are the personal opinions of the people speaking, and are not intended to provide medical or legal advice.

Join the Conversation

Have you lost your job, been put on leave, or lost opportunities to work as an independent contractor as a result of your decision not to comply with a New York vaccine mandate? Did you take a vaccine against your wishes in order to keep your job? Please get in touch with me at