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Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Vaccine Mandate

Jan 14 | 2022  by

In a widely anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court has voted 6-3 on January 13, 2022, to issue a new temporary stay to temporarily block the “vaccine mandate,” the Emergency Temporary Stay issued in November by the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, or commonly known as OSHA.

This ruling comes on the heels of the Sixth Circuit’s decision on December 17, 2021, to dissolve the Fifth Circuit’s stay on the multiple challenges to OSHA’s ETS that were consolidated, which was then appealed to the highest court in the land. By issuing the stay, the Supreme Court determined that the plaintiffs challenging the vaccine mandate were likely to prevail on the merits of the case in the 6th Circuit, which is a strong indicator that the Court acknowledged the strength of the arguments opposing the mandate.

The majority opinion cited the unprecedented breadth of power that OSHA was asserting it had by promulgating the vaccine mandate, and the court said that “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.”

The stay will now be in effect pending the ruling of the Sixth Circuit case, and businesses will not need to implement OSHA’s requirements for compliance at the time, which was set to require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for all workers at most companies with 100 or more employees.

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