The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on its web page Wednesday that it no longer intends to pursue enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine requirements. The Biden Administration rule was set to apply to employees who work at companies with staffs of at least 100 people, beginning in early January.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency stay on Saturday, November 6th, and demanded a response from government attorneys by that Monday, saying the mandate raised “ grave statutory and constitutional issues.” The court’s full expedited review was put out late last week, upholding the initial stay. The Fifth Circuit said that even if Congress passed a law implementing the mandate, that may not be legal, but it was primarily concerned with the idea that using OSHA was a workaround of the legislature by the Executive Branch to pursue a controversial policy.
The ruling does not stop individual employers from putting mandates in place for workers, and it does not change the restrictions placed on contractors who receive federal funds. Michigan Tech Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Ian Repp says OSHA’s change of course will not affect the university.
“A federal court recently stayed implementation of a vaccination mandate issued by OSHA to allow for judicial review. The OSHA mandate is separate from the federal contractor vaccination/exception mandate, and the federal court ruling does not impact University operations.”
Area hospitals and nursing homes are in a situation similar to Michigan Tech.