Saturday’s stay by the U.S. Federal Appeals Court was issued to stop the Biden administration from requiring that workers in U.S. businesses with more than 100 employees be vaccinated or tested weekly. The court cited “grave statutory and constitutional” problems with the rule.
After numerous Republican-led states had filed legal challenges to the new rule that is due to go into effect Jan 4, the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals for a Decision.
In a statement, Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said the Labor Department was “confident in its legal authority” to issue the rule, which will be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“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. “We are fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”
Two days after the Biden administration revealed the rule, Republican governors made vows to take legal action against the governors who claimed it was too broad for the administration’s legal authority.
The action on the private-sector vaccinations was taken under OSHA’s emergency authority over workplace safety, officials said. The rule applies to 84.2 million workers at 1.9 million private-sector employers, according to OSHA.
Saturday’s court order was issued in response to a petition by several advocacy groups and businesses as well as the states of Texas and South Carolina. Separate legal challenges are also being brought against the rule by other courts.
The Biden administration is required to respond to the request to a permanent injunction to stop the rule within five hours.