Over the weekend, a federal appeals court in Louisiana temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for companies with 100 or more employees, the New York Times reported.
According to the Times, the stay has no immediate impact since the first major deadline in the new rule is Dec. 5, which is when unvaccinated employees will be required to wear masks indoors. The legal challenge concerns whether mandating vaccines is under the purview of OSHA or would need to be passed by an act of Congress.
Seema Nanda, the Department of Labor’s chief legal officer, said that the administration is prepared to defend the standard in court. “The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them,” she said.
On Monday, November 8, the Biden administration told businesses to move forward with the mandate, CNBC reported. The administration said that OSHA has the authority to mandate vaccines and asked the court to lift the stay. The also said that the halt “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day,” while the potential claims of harm to businesses were “premature” since the vaccination and testing deadlines are not until January.