Biden Large-Workplace Mandate Blocked By SCOTUS

( – In September 2021, President Joe Biden directed the secretary of Labor to enact an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It mandated that people who work at a company with 100 or more employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing and use facemasks. Several individual states and groups of workers sued in federal court to prevent this edict from taking effect. On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) finally weighed in.

The justices agreed with the states and blocked the mandate.

The justices concluded that Biden’s directive was outside of what federal law allows OSHA to regulate. The ruling noted that the few exemptions available were “largely illusionary” and called the regulation itself “a blunt instrument” that made no real effort to examine the risk to the employees of different jobs, using the example of lifeguards versus meatpackers.

The position of the court is that the people who brought the lawsuits would probably win the argument “that the Secretary lacked authority to impose the mandate.” They pointed out that OSHA can regulate occupational hazards, but they cannot issue what’s effectively “a broad public health regulation.”

SCOTUS did allow another mandate involving the vaccination of healthcare workers to stand, however. The difference here is Congress has given the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to make rules that apply to entities getting federal funding (i.e. Medicare and Medicaid).

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