Tuesday Insight – December 21, 2021: Biden’s OSHA Vaccine-or-Test Rule for 84 million Workers is Back after Court Lifts Stay

Dec 23, 2021

A Biden administration rule that requires workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated against Covid or undergo weekly testing is back on.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay on the rule Friday evening. The rule was blocked on Nov. 6, just one day after it was formally issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In dozens of lawsuits around the country, Republican-led states, businesses, religious groups and some individuals charged the Biden administration with overreach. Among their arguments: OSHA does not have the legal authority to issue a rule regarding a society-wide health concern that goes far beyond the workplace. Even if reducing the risk of Covid is compelling, it is not necessarily a “grave danger,” as OSHA has declared it to be, they said. In addition, they argued that complying with the rule would be costly and could lead to worker shortages.

A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit found these injuries asserted by the petitioners to be “entirely speculative,” and the costs of delaying implementation of the rule to be comparatively high.

“Fundamentally, the [rule] is an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus that has killed over 800,000 people in the United States, brought our healthcare system to its knees, forced businesses to shut down for months on end, and cost hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs,” wrote Circuit Judge Jane B. Stranch, an Obama appointee.

“The harm to the government and the public interest outweighs any irreparable injury to the individual petitioners who may be subject to a vaccination policy,” she said.

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