On Friday, a veteran server at Yankee Stadium filed a lawsuit challenging Mayor Eric Adams’ “despicable” vaccination exemption for professional athletes, just as the Yankees prepare to play the Red Sox in their season opener. Virginia Alleyne alleges that the mayor’s exception for athletes and performers is “arbitrary and capricious” and an “abuse of discretion” in her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
Alleyne told The New York Post, “For him to allow millionaires to work and to punish the workers who are the lifeblood of this city is just horrendous.” She continued, “So many workers have lost their jobs, yet he’s rewarding the millionaires because he doesn’t want them coming after him. We are being punished by a blatant and egregious double standard.”
The unvaccinated 57-year-old Upper East Side single mother was placed on unpaid leave from her position as a waitress at the stadium’s high-end eatery Legends Suite Club in September. She has refused the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons and called the exemption “despicable.” She explained that she is pursuing the lawsuit to reverse the order, not for compensation for missed salary. She worked at Legends for 17 years, earning between $400 and $600 every shift in pay and tips. She also held various part-time jobs before the pandemic, one of which she was dismissed from last year for being unvaccinated.
Adams issued the executive order on March 24 from Citi Field, arguing that it will help enhance tourism by exempting athletes and performing artists from getting the vaccine. Vaccination is still required for the remainder of the city’s governmental and private-sector employees. Over 1,400 city employees have been laid off as a result of the requirement.
James Mermigis, the so-called “anti-shutdown lawyer” who is behind a wave of pandemic-related litigation, filed the class-action complaint on behalf of Alleyne and “all other individuals similarly situated.” He stated, “Today is opening day. Everyone will be back at Yankee Stadium except my client. Fifty thousand fans will be cheering in Yankee Stadium without regard to vaccination status but my client remains unemployed.”