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Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine Mandates

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that OSHA has no legal authority to enforce the Biden administration’s vaccine order for private businesses with 100 or more employees. Earlier this month, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the stay ...
Jan 17, 2022

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that OSHA has no legal authority to enforce the Biden administration’s vaccine order for private businesses with 100 or more employees. Earlier this month, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the stay on the vaccine requirement for federal contractors. 

AMT joined the Coalition for Workplace Safety and other like-minded organizations in calling for a halt to the mandates. Manufacturers were already struggling with a workforce crisis before the pandemic. COVID-19 added another layer to the challenge. Implementing and complying with a vaccine program would be an undue burden on employers and employees. 

The Supreme Court’s decision only prevents OSHA from enforcing the “vaccine-or-test” standard, pending review on its merits by the 6th Circuit and any subsequent courts considering the petition. However, it is hard to imagine the review going ahead given that the high court’s majority stated it does not believe OSHA has the authority to issue the standard.

From the Supreme Court majority opinion:

“Although COVID–19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most. COVID–19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather. That kind of universal risk is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases. Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.”

“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. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.” 

Stay tuned for updates on this topic and other rules and regulations impacting the manufacturing technology industry. Email me at athomas@AMTonline.org if you have any questions.

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Author
Amber Thomas
Vice President, Advocacy
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