As first reported in, by the date of September 17th, 2021, members of PBA Local #136, the certified Collective Negotiations Unit that represents Rank and File Law Enforcement Officers employed by Wayne Township in Passaic County, New Jersey will be forced by a mandate issued by Township’s Leadership to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, or face the consequences associated with their disobedience.

In an effort to try to thwart this mandate, Local #136 filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of the policy in the Passaic County Superior Court on behalf of all of its members.  Within the body of the complaint there is a side note indicating that three of its members remain unvaccinated by personal choice.

In its effort to obtain the injunction The PBA claimed that the vaccine mandate violated the civil rights of the police officers, placed the officers at risk of losing out on life insurance benefits if they were to die due to complications related to the vaccine and that the mandate could not be implemented as it was not collectively bargained for with the Union.  However, Superior Court Judge, Ernest M. Caposela, dismissed each of these arguments outright and denied the union’s request for an injunction stating that the policy is “justified in that it is a proper exercise of the [Township’s] police powers to protect the general public welfare.” In addition to the foregoing, the Court held that religious exemptions were still being honored, and therefore the mandate was not contrary to the United States Constitution.

This was the first legal challenge to a vaccine mandate that we are aware of in New Jersey that addresses the legalities of a policy with public employees.  Unfortunately, the documents filed with the Court in this matter have provided us with little insight concerning why the Judge ruled as he did, however this does establish a dangerous precedent moving forward on this very important issue.  We will keep our readers posted on this issue as more information becomes available.


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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.