Government Connection

Businesses Argue for Emergency Relief From Vaccine-or-Test Rule

Several affiliated businesses told a federal appeals court that their operations will suffer harm that can’t be fixed unless they get emergency relief from the Biden administration’s rule requiring large employers to mandate Covid-19 vaccination or regular testing of workers. The businesses, led by management company BST Holdings, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, to issue an injunction blocking the regulation. Failure to do so, they told the court, would make them unable to hire workers and place them at a disadvantage against smaller companies that aren’t subject to the rule. The Fifth Circuit has already halted the vaccinate-or-test regulation via an administrative stay issued a day after the rule was officially published. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regulation, unveiled last week, applies to companies with at least 100 workers. The agency developed the rule under its authority to enact emergency temporary standards that are necessary to address a “grave danger” in the workplace. In recent days, Republican state attorneys general, companies, business groups, and other challengers have filed a slew of lawsuits contesting the rule’s legality. Thus far, the regulation has attracted at least 12 petitions seeking judicial review in six different appellate courts, and more are expected. Those cases will be consolidated and heard by one circuit court initially chosen by a lottery, according to the rules for multi-circuit litigation. While the various circuit courts can rule on stay requests, the court that wins the lottery can lift previous orders once it takes over the litigation. A Fifth Circuit panel composed of three judges appointed by Republican presidents paused the rule in a Nov. 6 order. It also asked for briefing on a permanent injunction.

November 11, 2021

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