Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Vaccine Mandate; Allows Health Care Vaccine Mandate
On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers. However, the court allowed a mandate requiring health care workers at facilities receiving federal money to be vaccinated.
The vote in the employer mandate case was 6 to 3. The vote in the health care case was 5 to 4.
The employer mandate would have required workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or to wear masks and be tested weekly, though employers were not required to pay for the testing under the OSHA ETS. There were exceptions for workers with religious objections and medical disabilities as well as those who do not come into close contact with other people at their jobs, like those who work from home or exclusively outdoors.
Parts of the mandate concerning record-keeping and masks took effect on Monday. The administration had said it would not enforce the testing requirement until February 9, 2022.
The Court concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected by the mandate.
In a separate, simultaneously released ruling on the administration’s vaccination rules for health-care workers, the court wrote, “We agree with the Government that the [Health and Human Services] Secretary’s rule falls within the authorities that Congress has conferred upon him.”
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