On Saturday, November 6, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay for OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccine standard published on Friday, November 5. The court has given the administration until 5:00 pm Monday, November 8 to respond to the request for a permanent injunction against the rule. Similar lawsuits have been filed in other districts. This puts a pause on the administration’s plan requiring employers to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing.
While courts have upheld an individual employer’s right to mandate a vaccine as a condition of employment, this is the first time the federal government has ordered employers to mandate the vaccine. Additionally, attorneys argue OSHA has the authority to regulate hazards limited to workplaces. COVID-19 is a generalized threat that can be encountered anywhere, not just the workplace.
The administration appears to be unfazed by these court challenges. On Friday, it asked OSHA to open a 30-day comment period with the intent of expanding the vaccine mandate to all employers, including those with fewer than 100 employees. Horton will continue to monitor this situation and update you as these legal challenges proceed.
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