OSHA suspends vaccine mandate after appeals court ruling

Staff Report
Diane Ginsburg, clinical professor and Associate Dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas, prepares Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at an event held Nov. 17.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has temporarily suspended enforcement of the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

The Nov. 17 announcement was made after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals in New Orleans twice ordered implementation of the mandate halted on constitutional grounds. 

On Nov. 12, a three-member panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed its ruling, calling it "staggeringly overbroad."

"While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation," OSHA's statement read.

Earlier this month, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced he filed a lawsuit challenging the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for larger businesses.

The mandate was set to require tens of millions of American workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or get tested for coronavirus weekly, according to rules issued Nov. 4.

The requirements would have applied to an estimated 84 million employees.

Local business owner Brandon Trosclair, who owns 15 grocery stores in Louisiana and Mississippi, and a group of employees from Texas sued over the mandate on Nov. 5.