OSHA Suspends Enforcement of Vaccine Mandate After Court Block

Registered nurse, Noleen Nobleza (C), inoculates Julio Quinones with a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic set up in the parking lot of CalOptima in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 28, 2021. (Jae C. Hong/AP Photo)
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By Isabel van Brugen

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended the enforcement of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses.

The announcement came shortly after a U.S. appeals court rejected a challenge by the Biden administration on Nov. 12 and reaffirmed its decision to put on hold OSHA’s mandate, which requires that businesses with 100 employees or more ensure that workers either be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022, or be tested weekly and wear a mask.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans stated in an opinion that OSHA’s mandate is “staggeringly overbroad,” and ordered it to “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.”

The court had previously issued a temporary halt to the mandate on Nov. 6 pending litigation.

“The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS ‘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,” the Labor Department affirmed in a statement in recognition of the court’s ruling.

At least 27 U.S. states, as well as private employers, religious organizations, and other groups, have sued the Biden administration, claiming that it’s exceeding its authority in issuing the mandate.

In the Fifth Circuit Court’s reaffirmation on Nov. 12, it stated that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate “raises serious constitutional concerns” and “likely exceeds the federal government’s authority.”

The Epoch Times has contacted Biden administration officials for comment.

Meanwhile, White House officials have continued to call on employers to adhere to the vaccine mandate for private businesses after the initial Nov. 6 ruling.

“We think people should not wait,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Nov. 8, responding to a question on whether employers should hold off on requiring employees to be vaccinated after the court put the mandate on hold.

“We say: do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe,” Jean-Pierre said. “It is important and critical to do, and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness.”

Employers “should not wait” for legal matters to be resolved before adhering Biden’s vaccine requirement, Jean-Pierre added.

“They should continue to go—move forward and make sure that they’re getting their workplace vaccinated,” she said.

Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen

Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master’s in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.

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