A Louisiana federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted the Biden administration’s mandate for large private employers to require their workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or face weekly Covid-19 testing, a day after more than 25 states sued the administration over the mandate.
The conservative Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued an emergency stay of the mandate, which was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, saying it raised “grave statutory and constitutional issues.”
OSHA has until Monday to respond to the plaintiffs’ petition for a permanent injunction on the mandate.
Following OSHA’s release of the rules of the mandate on Thursday, attorneys general from more than 25 states including Louisiana, filed lawsuits or petitions challenging it.
The Labor Department’s chief legal officer told Forbes on Friday it is “confident” in OSHA’s “legal authority” to issue the mandate, saying it has the authority to “act quickly” in emergency situations where “workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them.”
Forbes has reached out to the Labor Department for comment on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ stay.
The vaccine mandate applies to companies that have 100 or more employees. They must ensure their employees are completely vaccinated by Jan. 4 and that those who aren’t submit to weekly Covid-19 tests. The mandate also requires unvaccinated workers to start wearing masks indoors on Dec. 5. The businesses won’t be required to pay for their employees’ Covid-19 tests or masks, unless state or local laws require it, and businesses can be exempt from the mandate if their employees don’t work in an office and primarily telework. States that have filed challenges to OSHA over the mandate as of Saturday include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, Wyoming and West Virginia.
Between $13,653 to $136,532. That is how much companies may be fined if they do not comply with the new mandate, according to the OSHA website.