skip to main content

Employment-related disputes may have far-reaching implications for a company’s reputation, business and ability to attract and retain talent. Clients turn to Paul, Weiss for our deft handling of the most sensitive internal investigations, high-stakes employment and executive-related litigations, and business-critical trade secrets, non-competition and restrictive covenant disputes.

Paul, Weiss Wins Complete Dismissals of Two Lawsuits Against New York-Presbyterian Hospital in COVID-19 Vaccination Challenges in Federal and State Court

Paul, Weiss secured the complete dismissal, on behalf of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, of two recent vaccine challenges by former employees.

In the first, a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in 2023, a former employee asserted state claims of religious discrimination and retaliation under the New York State Human Rights Law, based on the plaintiff’s refusal to be vaccinated. Vaccination during the relevant time period was mandated by a New York Department of Health regulation requiring all medically eligible personnel to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

On March 12, the court dismissed the state court claims with prejudice, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish a prima face case of religious discrimination. The court also found that the plaintiff’s requested accommodation would have constituted an undue hardship on the hospital.

In the second win, a federal court similarly dismissed all claims filed by another former employee against the hospital. In that case, the former employee alleged religious discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the U.S. and New York State constitutions, arising from the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the vaccination requirement, as well as alleging race discrimination under the state human rights law. With respect to the religious discrimination claims, the court emphasized that the requested accommodation—a blanket exemption from the vaccine requirement—would have constituted an undue hardship on the hospital, because it would have required the hospital to violate the state Department of Health mandate.

NYPH was one of the first major hospital systems to announce a vaccine requirement for its more than 37,000 employees in June 2021, and since then, Paul, Weiss has been involved in advising it on the implementation of its COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees and in representing it in related litigation and administrative matters. The firm has helped the hospital overcome 10 vaccine challenges, including in federal and state courts and four before the state Division of Human Rights.

The Paul, Weiss team included litigation partners Liza Velazquez, Bruce Birenboim, Michael Gertzman, Gregory Laufer, Jeh Johnson, Loretta Lynch, Jeannie Rhee and Kannon Shanmugam and counsel Jonathan Hurwitz.

© 2024 Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Privacy Policy