OSHA Suspends Implementation of Vaccine Mandate per Court Order

Vocational nurse Christina Garibay displays a syringe with Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Covid-19 vaccine at a Skid Row community outreach event where coronavirus vaccines and testing were offered in Los Angeles, California on August 22, 2021. (Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended the implementation of its federal vaccine mandate affecting roughly 80 million workers in the U.S. after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay its COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).

“On November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402) (“ETS”),” an update on OSHA’s website states.

According to the court order, OSHA is to “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.”

“While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation,” OSHA added:

OSHA published the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) this month, laying out the requirements for employers who employ over 100 workers.

The legal challenges came swiftly following the announcement of the rule, which requires employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccines or implement rigorous testing requirements. The cost of the latter remains on unvaccinated employees, amounting to a “work tax,” as OSHA, specifically, “does not require employers to pay for any costs associated with testing.”

The rule prompted businesses, as well as multiple states, to take action, deeming the rule unconstitutional.

“This is 500 pages of a government of a bureaucracy — a government that is being run by executive edict, not in accordance with the typical constitute processes, and the state of Florida is going to respond,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced following the release of OSHA’s rule.

“And we will combat the OSHA rule. As soon as it’s published, Florida will be joining with Georgia and Alabama, as well with private plaintiffs to file suit,” he vowed.

The rule, which could affect 80 million American workers, was slated to go into effect January 4. The rule includes “planned inspections” as well as hefty fines for violators — up to $14,000 for first offenses.

The case is BST Holdings, L.L.C v. the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, No. 21-60845 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 

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