MassDOT has offered to rehire some employees who were fired for failing to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate, and Gov. Charlie Baker’s office indicated that other state agencies have made similar offers. Who is
Matthew Nosp, the agency’s chief human resources officer, sent a letter to a former employee last week offering to reinstate him to his previous position, with the same “duties and responsibilities and reporting relationships.”
The letter notes that the offer of reinstatement, if accepted, is “effective immediately and unconditional,” and also indicates that the former employee receiving the offer must have religious exemptions prior to his termination. applied for
Anisha Chakraborty, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said an unspecified number of employees who were not previously covered by the vaccine requirement, which allows for certain medical and religious exemptions, were offered their jobs.
“The administration has recently been able to accommodate very few positions that were not previously accommodated under the vaccine requirement,” Chakraborty said. “These employees have been offered their positions back, and management does not anticipate any further letters seeking additional positions.”
Chakraborty said the administration has no plans to lift the vaccine mandate for state workers, which was implemented in August 2021. The “vast majority” of employees have complied with that requirement, he added.
A MassDOT spokeswoman deferred comment to the governor’s office.
According to a state form dated December 23, 2021, 131 of the 132 employees who applied to MassDOT for religious exemptions had their applications denied. And 11 of the 49 employees who applied for medical exemption were also rejected.
The numbers were even higher at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, where 815 of 868 employees who applied for religious exemptions, and 40 of 68 who applied for medical exemptions, were denied.
State Police Association of Massachusetts spokesman Chris Keohan said the union learned of the MassDOT letter Monday night, but had not been informed of any return-to-work offer among its membership.
Several dozen state troopers were fired for not complying with the mandate, he said. In some cases, those who qualified for religious or medical exemptions were told there was no place for them to continue working.
“President Biden has publicly declared the end of the pandemic and we are no longer in a state of emergency due to COVID-19,” said union president Patrick McNamara, who called for the immediate repeal of the vaccine mandate.
“All employees should be able to return to work without delay, regardless of prior exemption status. The State Police continues to be at extremely low staffing levels. All troopers return to work, which is currently due to the Governor’s policies. are out of action, long overdue,” he added.
In the MassDOT letter, Knosp said unvaccinated employees, if they choose to return to work, will be required to wear masks.
Rehabilitation is also not required to dismiss or release any claims, lawsuits, allegations, or proceedings brought against MassDOT, the letter states.
A state judge ruled Monday that New York City must immediately reinstate all of its municipal employees who were fired for failing to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate, after finding that it was illegal. was implemented as
In its decision filed on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio wrote That while the city’s health commissioner has authority to issue public health mandates, the commissioner cannot create new employment conditions or terminate employees.
“It is time for New York City to do what is right and what is right,” Porzio wrote.
New York City is appealing the decision, which also entitles those employees to back pay.