11 States Sue Biden Administration Over Private Employer Vaccine Requirement

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Attorneys general from 11 states sued the Biden administration Friday for its allegedly “unlawful” vaccine mandate on private companies with 100 or more employees as GOP-led states fight back vaccine requirements.

Protesters gather at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday Oct. 28, 2021, to push the … [+] Iowa Legislature to pass a bill that would prohibit vaccine mandates from being imposed on employees in Iowa. Informed Choice Iowa, a group opposing vaccine and mask mandates, held the rally as lawmakers convened a special session of the legislature and unveiled a bill that provides for vaccine mandate exemptions and required unemployment benefits for workers forced out of a job for refusing a vaccine. (AP Photo/David Pitt)


Key Facts

The lawsuit was joined by AGs in Missouri, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire and Wyoming, as well as five private employers over a vaccine requirement issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for employers with 100 or more workers to make sure their employees are fully vaccinated by January 4 or receive a Covid test every week.

The challenge, filed in the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit Friday morning, seeks to halt the mandate pending judicial review.

The petition alleges that the vaccine rule is “unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise” and infringes on the 10th Amendment, the separation of powers under the Constitution, echoing an earlier petition filed against a federal vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

The petition also says that policies regarding mandatory vaccination had been up to the states to decide and that the Supreme Court has recognized that such policies “do not ordinarily concern the national government.”

OSHA did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.

Crucial Quote

“The federal government should not be forcing private employers to require their employees to get vaccinated or foot the cost to test those employees weekly,” said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. “Local business owners have told me that the vaccine mandate would decimate their businesses.”

Big Number

84 million. That’s how many people are affected by the vaccine mandate for private companies. That figure is approximately two-thirds of the U.S. workforce.

Key Background

Trade groups voiced concerns over OSHA’s vaccine mandate. According to CNN, the National Retail Federation said the rule was “burdensome” to retailers and that “it is critical that the rule not cause unnecessary disruption” to the economy and aggravate labor shortages. Meanwhile, in October, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning private employers from requiring their employees to get vaccinated. A recent Kaiser poll showed that four in 10 unvaccinated workers would leave their jobs if employers forced them to get inoculated against Covid even if they could undergo weekly testing.

Further Reading

11 states file suit against Biden’s business vaccine mandate (Associated Press)

Federal Contractors Facing Push Back Against Vaccine Mandate (Forbes)

10 More States Sue Biden Administration Over Vaccine Mandates (Forbes)

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