OSHA abiding by court order, won't take steps to implement employer vaccine mandate for now

Posted at 3:13 PM, Nov 17, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced over the weekend that they would abide by a court order to not take further steps to implement a new rule that would require large companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or regular testing among their employees.

According to a note on its website, OSHA says it has "suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement" of the large employer vaccine mandate following a Friday ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit. Internet archives indicate the notice was posted to OSHA's page between Friday night and Saturday morning.

While it is abiding by the court order, OSHA said that it "remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies."

The new rules, implemented on Nov. 5, mandates companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations among employees or institute weekly COVID-19 testing by Jan. 4. Companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation.

President Joe Biden first previewed the new requirements as part of a six-pronged plan to combat COVID-19 in the fall and winter months.

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said OSHA must halt implementing the new rules while courts weigh its legality. CNBC reports that the ruling called the rules "fatally flawed" and "staggeringly overbroad."

Legal experts predict a "high probability" that the case will ultimately reach the Supreme Court.