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New York Mandate Podcast, Ep. 41: Attorney Sujata Gibson

Gibson discusses who will be included if the DiCapua suit is certified as a class action, the legal standards at play, and what went on behind the scenes when workers' religious exemptions were denied
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“This is still really impacting thousands of people's lives. And it's not something we can just brush under the carpet and pretend never happened. This ruined lives unjustly and we have to make it impossible to ignore that.” -Sujata Gibson

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In this episode of the New York Mandate podcast, I talk with civil rights attorney Sujata Gibson, who is representing petitioners/plaintiffs in several lawsuits against New York City and New York State vaccine mandates.

We spoke following a hearing in DiCapua et al v. The City of New York et al, where New York Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio denied a motion by the City to dismiss the case and set an August 14 date for the next hearing, where Gibson and her co-counsel on the case attorney Michael Sussman will present arguments for certifying the lawsuit as a class action.

Gibson talked with me about the DiCapua case and gave an update on the other mandate-related lawsuits she’s working on. She also talked about how the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Groff v DeJoy is relevant to her cases, the complex issue of undue hardship claims, and what went on behind the scenes with the New York City bureaucrats who rejected workers’ requests for religious exemptions to vaccine mandates.

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More from Sujata Gibson:

Gibson spoke to petitioners and supporters in the lobby of the Richmond County Courthouse after the July 18, 2023 hearing in DiCapua v. NYC.

Gibson talked with me outside the Richmond County Courthouse after the July 18, 2023 hearing in DiCapua v. NYC.

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

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks about getting vaccinated at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, September 26, 2021.

Eichenholtz Deposition
This May 2022 deposition of New York City Law Department attorney Eric Eichenholtz explores in detail the City’s process for reviewing requests for religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates for municipal workers.

Groff v. DeJoy
This U.S. Supreme Court decision clarified the standard that should be applied when employers deny a religious accommodation on the grounds of undue hardship.

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 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 vaccine mandate in New York? Did you take a vaccine against your wishes in order to keep your job? Please get in touch with me at NYMpodcast@protonmail.com.

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New York Mandate Podcast
Conversations with New Yorkers who are bearing the costs and consequences of New York's COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
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