Is the DOE vaccine mandate’s provision placing unvaccinated teachers on unpaid leave a form of disciplinary action requiring a hearing pursuant to 3020-a?

No. Christine O’Reilly, a tenured teacher, decided, after the DOE’s vaccine mandate in September 2021, not to provide proof of vaccination nor seek an accomodation. The DOE, pursuant to the arbitration between the UFT and the DOE placed O’Reilly on unpaid leave.

O’Reilly claimed that she was entitled to notice and a hearing pursuant to Education Law 3020-a as her placement on unpaid leave status was a disciplinary action requiring a hearing and that she was effectively terminated.

Justice Arlene Bluth of the New York County Supreme Court denied her petition and wrote that the DOE’s action merely provided a requirement for continued employment and was not disciplinary in nature. Additionally the justice ruled that O’Reilly needed to join the UFT as a necessary party to the proceeding as the arbitration which gave rise to the vaccine mandate involved the Union.

CHRISTINE O’REILLY, Petitioner,
v.
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 24 OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
, Respondents.

Index No. 161040/2021, Supreme Court, New York County. January 20, 2022.

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