FDNY Firefighters Sue Over COVID Vaccine Suspensions

Fifty firefighters with FDNY who were placed on leave without pay on November 1, 2021 because they had not been vaccinated for COVID19, have filed suit in US District Court alleging a violation of their due process rights. The suit was filed yesterday naming the New York City Fire Department and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro as defendants.

According to the complaint, the firefighters were placed on “Leave Without Pay” and “unauthorized to enter FDNY’s buildings to work.” The complaint also refers to leave without pay status as “suspended.”

Quoting from the complaint:

  • The FDNY has suspended the Plaintiffs without pay without due process pursuant to N.Y.C. Administrative Code§ 15-113.
  • The Plaintiffs individually possess a property-based, procedural due process right to their pay pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • The FDNY’s unilateral decision to suspend the Plaintiffs’ pay violated the Plaintiffs’ property-based, procedural due process right to their pay.
  • The Plaintiffs individually possess a procedural due process right to their jobs pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • The FDNY’s unilateral decision to suspend the Plaintiffs from their job without due process pursuant to N.Y.C. Administrative Code§ 15-113 violated the Plaintiffs’ procedural due process right to their jobs.
  • Nigro’s unilateral decision to suspend the Plaintiffs from their job without due process pursuant to N.Y.C. Administrative Code§ 15-113 violated the Plaintiffs’ procedural due process right to their jobs.
  • The Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights have been trampled on by the FDNY.
  • The Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights have been trampled on by Nigro.

The suit is seeking class action status on behalf of: “All FDNY employees suspended without pay for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine who have a statutory or contractual right to charges and a hearing before the employee is disciplined or terminated.”

Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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