The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily halted the Biden administration’s rule requiring employers with over 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or implement weekly testing
In a ruling issued Saturday on a lawsuit filed by state attorneys general, the court ordered the vaccine mandate to be temporarily halted. The mandate was to be enforced through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and set to go into effect Jan. 4.
“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby stayed pending further action by this court,” the court wrote.
The OSHA rule would require employers with over 100 employees to either mandate vaccines for all their workers or require unvaccinated employees to provide negative COVID-19 tests weekly, beginning on Jan. 4. Unvaccinated workers are also required to wear masks starting Dec. 5.
Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda vowed to fight the 5th Circuit’s ruling in court in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is confident in its legal authority to issue the emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing. The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them,” Nanda said.
“The new emergency temporary standard is well within OSHA’s authority under the law and is consistent with OSHA’s requirements to protect the health and safety of workers,” she added, declaring that the Department of Labor was “fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”
The U.S. government has until 5:00 p.m. Monday to respond to the ruling.
The OSHA guidance released Thursday would mandate businesses with 100 or more employees to require vaccination or impose weekly testing. The guidance also stated that anyone who “knowingly makes any false statement, representation, or certification” about their vaccination status could face up to six months jail time and a $10,000 fine.
Editor's note: Texas Public Policy Foundation, which filed a motion to halt the mandate on behalf of Texas temporary staffing businesses, praised the decision. “The quick turnaround by the Fifth Circuit to stay the mandate signifies the deep and obvious constitutional problems with the federal government’s private employer vaccine mandate,” said the Foundation's General Counsel Robert Henneke. “That should send a message to the White House the mandate is not only ill-conceived but unconstitutional.”
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