As we previously blogged, President Biden’s mandate for large employers has been put on hold by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, because in the Court’s words, the Plaintiffs have alleged “’grave statutory and constitutional issues” with the mandate. In response, OSHA has stated that it will suspend enforcement of the vaccine mandate pending the outcome of these legal challenges.
In related news, the Biden Administration issued a similar vaccine mandate focused on health care workers who work for Medicare or Medicaid certified providers. On November 20th, a federal judge in Florida declined a request to temporarily halt the mandate, ruling that it had not been demonstrated that the mandate will result in “irreparable injury.” However, on November 29th, a different federal judge in Missouri reached a very different conclusion. The Missouri judge issued a preliminary injunction temporarily halting the mandate for health care workers, and the following day a federal court in Louisiana temporarily halted the mandate for health care workers on a nationwide basis.
Similarly, a federal judge in Georgia temporarily blocked the Biden Administrations third mandate, which applies to federal contractors.
Despite these challenges, OSHA insists that it “remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies.” Employers would be wise not to disregard their obligations under these mandates in the hopes that they will be overturned by the courts. In the event that the mandates are upheld and become immediately enforceable, employers will be expected to have policies and procedures in place to comply with the mandates.
Moreover, these legal challenges do not mean that businesses cannot voluntarily implement their own vaccine mandate policies. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, or any other area of employment law, contact Thatcher Law Firm at 301-850-1246. www.ThatcherLaw.com. Follow us on: