Health Law

5th Circuit temporarily stays OSHA's vaccine mandate for larger employers

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The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans on Saturday granted an emergency motion to stay the federal government’s vaccine mandate for larger employers pending expedited judicial review.

The 5th Circuit acted in a suit by several companies and the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.

The New York Times, the Washington Post and Reuters are among the publications covering the 5th Circuit stay. How Appealing links to the 5th Circuit’s Nov. 6 order.

The court said it granted the stay because the plaintiffs’ petitions “give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues” with the vaccine mandate.

Missouri and 10 other Republican-led states have filed a separate challenge before the 8th Circuit at St. Louis, according to prior New York Times coverage and Bloomberg Law.

Three states led by Florida also filed a challenge in the 11th Circuit at Atlanta, and seven states led by Kentucky filed a challenge in the 6th Circuit at Cincinnati.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration had released the rule Thursday. It requires businesses with more than 100 employees to require workers to get vaccinated or to wear a face mask indoors and test negative for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

The rule says unvaccinated workers must begin wearing masks by Dec. 5, and workers must complete their vaccine regimen by Jan. 4.

The OSHA enacted the rule as an “emergency temporary standard” needed to protect employees from danger.

The 5th Circuit plaintiffs contend that the rule is “a quintessential legislative act—and one wholly unrelated to the purpose of OSHA itself, which is protecting workplace safety,” according to suit coverage by the New York Times.

The 5th Circuit per curiam order was signed by U.S. Circuit Judges Edith Jones, Kyle Duncan and Kurt Engelhardt.

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