An ex-Yankee Stadium worker who says she was fired for refusing to get a Covid-19 vaccination sued New York Mayor Eric Adams for exempting professional athletes and other performers from the city’s vaccine mandate for private employers.
Virginia Alleyne, who worked as a waitress at the stadium’s Legends Club for 17 years until she was terminated in September, filed a proposed class action in New York state court on Friday. She asked for a court order blocking the city’s implementation of the exemptions that would allow unvaccinated Yankees to take the field.
“Thousands of firemen, policemen, teachers, sanitation workers, restaurant workers and other private sector workers have been fired as a result of this mandate,” Alleyne said in the complaint. “Has the mayor asked the aforementioned terminated NYC employees if they care if the Nets, Knicks, Yankees or Mets are at a competitive disadvantage when they can no longer support their families?”
Adams has been on defense since deciding last month to make the exceptions, a change that drew ire from union leaders, City Council members and health experts for creating a double standard. The mayor said at the time that the city was prepared to defend any legal challenges to the exemption.
“The mayor has said it was in the best interest of the city to make this policy change, and he was well within his authority to do so,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the mayor, said in a statement, adding that lawyers for the city would review the case.
Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving, perhaps the highest-profile New York athlete to remain unvaccinated, was benched in October due to the mandate. Under the exception, he would be allowed to play home games at Barclays Center again.
Adams argued the mandate was unfair to New York teams since visiting players weren’t subject to the requirement.
“You may consider it as a double standard,” Adams said at a March 25 news briefing. “I consider it an analysis that I made, and I’m comfortable with my decision.”