November 18, 2021

Biden Pauses Employer Vaccine Mandate After Court Order

photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
In response to a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Biden administration is (at least temporarily) backing down from its COVID vaccine mandate for businesses.

Per Biden's directive, the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) drafted a rule that would “require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.” That rule was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 4, 2022.

Groups of affected employees, a variety of businesses, and twenty-six states have filed lawsuits against the mandate. On Nov. 12, a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the OSHA rule, stating that the mandate contained “grave statutory and constitutional issues.” The court also rejected an appeal by the Biden administration to lift the temporary stay. In that decision, the court found that the mandate “grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.”

Many pro-life advocates take issue with the Biden administration's attempt to force individuals to take COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of employment. This is because all currently available COVID-19 vaccines were developed and/or produced through the use of stem cell lines harvested from aborted babies. The Fifth Circuit's rulings so far are a good sign for pro-life advocates who value religious freedom and oppose the abortion-related aspects of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Fifth Circuit ordered OSHA to “take no steps to implement or enforce” the OSHA rule “until further court order.” OSHA has updated its website to state that it "has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement" for the time being.

As long as the court blocks Biden's rule, OSHA cannot force businesses to impose vaccine mandates on their employees. Businesses could still potentially impose their own mandates without the federal government's involvement, however.