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Almost immediately after the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers was announced, state lawsuits poured in challenging its legality.
On Nov. 6, two days after it was rolled out, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans temporarily blocked the mandate, which would require workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022, or be tested weekly.
On Nov. 12, the appellate court reaffirmed its prior temporary injunction, placing a hold on the mandate’s implementation. On Nov. 16, a judicial panel consolidated 34 lawsuits challenging the mandate, and the case was randomly selected to be heard by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
In response to the legal hold on the mandate, on Nov. 17 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration suspended activities related to its emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 to comply with the federal appeals court ruling. The story on OSHA’s decision was the third most read workers compensation-related article of 2021 on Business Insurance’s website.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court delivered a win for the Biden administration late in the evening on Dec. 17, upholding the employer vaccine mandate and allowing its implementation. In a 2-1 decision, the judges ruled that OSHA’s ETS fell within the agency’s legal authority.
OSHA has since announced the mandate’s original compliance deadline of Jan. 4 has been pushed back to Jan. 10.
Several appeals were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, it was announced last week, specifically addressed to Justice Brett Kavanaugh who has jurisdiction over the 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. The matter is expected to be referred to the full court.