The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit put a temporary stop to the Biden administration’s rule requiring employers with over 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or be tested weekly.
On Saturday a ruling on a lawsuit filed by state attorneys general, the court ordered the vaccine mandate to be temporarily halted. The mandate was set to go into effect on Jan. 4 and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health.
“Because the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate, the Mandate is hereby stayed pending further action by this court,” the court wrote.
The OSHA rule would require employers with over 100 employees to either mandate vaccines for all their employees or require unvaccinated employees to provide negative COVID-19 tests weekly, starting Jan. 4. Unvaccinated workers are also required to wear masks starting Dec. 5.
Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said she would fight the 5th Circuit’s ruling in court.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is confident in its legal authority to issue the emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing. 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,” Nanda said.
“The new emergency temporary standard is well within OSHA’s authority under the law and is consistent with OSHA’s requirements to protect the health and safety of workers,” she added, stating that the Department of Labor was “fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”
The deadline for the U.S. government to the ruling is Monday at 5:00 p.m.
The guidance also noted that anyone who “knowingly makes any false statement, representation, or certification” about their vaccination status could face up to six months jail time and a $10,000 fine.