NEW YORK (PIX11) – A judge on Friday ruled against the NYPD’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of New York City’s largest police union, directing the department to rehire officers who were fired for noncompliance.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Lyle Frank ruled in favor of the Police Benevolent Association’s lawsuit against the City of New York, saying the NYPD’s vaccine mandate as a condition of employment is unlawful for members of the union.

The ruling applies only to members of the Police Benevolent Association, which represents about 24,000 of the NYPD’s 36,000 officers.

“This decision confirms what we have said from the start: the vaccine mandate was an improper infringement on our members’ right to make personal medical decisions in consultation with their own health care professionals,” said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. “We will continue to fight to protect those rights.”

The judge directed the NYPD to reinstate police officers who were fired or put on leave without pay for not complying with the city’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

More than 1,750 New York City employees — roughly 1% — were let go for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. That includes about three dozen NYPD officers.

A spokesperson with New York City’s Law Department said they are immediately appealing the ruling, which will freeze Frank’s decision until the appeal is heard. 

“It is at odds with every other court decision upholding the mandate as a condition of employment,” said Law Department spokesperson, Nicholas Paolucci.

New York City has already won similar vaccine mandate cases, including one against the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

The judge’s ruling comes just days after Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City is lifting its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private sector employees and for public school students who want to participate in sports and other after-school activities. The mandate still remains in place for city employees.