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01/13/2022

Supreme Court blocks vax mandate

A OSHA rule seen as excessively onerous is blocked by the high court.
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One of the most consequential Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations of recent times was  blocked by the Supreme Court in a decision handed down Thursday afternoon.

At issue: a Covid-19 vaccination mandate that was introduced through an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).

The rule would have applied to businesses with 100 or more employees and would have required those employees to be fully vaccinated or comply with weekly testing requirements.

Here's what the Supreme Court wrote in an unsigned opinion:

"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."

The National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association and the National Association of Home Builders were among the industry groups concerned with the onerous nature of the bill.

The Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling, including dissenting arguments, can be read here.

The National Retail Federation quickly responded to the Supreme Court's decision to reimpose a stay of the ETS, calling it a significant victory for employers.

"OSHA clearly exceeded its authority promulgating its original mandate under emergency powers without giving stakeholders the benefit of a rulemaking process.

The NRF urged "the Biden Administration to discard this unlawful mandate and instead work with employers, employees and public health experts on practical ways to increase vaccination rates and mitigate the spread of the virus in 2022.”

What happens next? The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association explained that OSHA is now blocked from enforcing all provisions of the ETS while it will be reconsidered by the Sixth Circuit court. 

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