Biden drops vaccine mandate for private employers two weeks after Supreme Court ruled against it
The Biden Administration has officially dropped its emergency rule that required all private employers with over 100 employees to subject their staff to a mandatory vaccination against COVID-19. The decision comes in two weeks after the Supreme Court ruling that blocked the policy citing the federal government overreach.
According to the Labor Department’s official statement, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decided to drop the policy “after evaluating the [Supreme] Court’s decision.” However, the agency stated that they’re still considering imposing a mandatory vaccination policy through the regular rulemaking process instead of an emergency one.
The agency is “prioritizing its resources” on finalizing its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, which the Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 ruling earlier this month, OSHA said in a statement.
The Biden Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule applied to all private employers with 100 or more employees, and it took effect in early January before the Supreme Court ruled against it 6-3 on January 13. The court cited that the executive branch “lacked authority” to impose the mandate, and said it should have been left up to Congress. The justices also said the government overstepped its authority by requiring vaccinations because it went beyond the scope of “workplace conduct,” and the rule was a “significant encroachment” into employees’ lives and health. Additionally, the emergency rule was lacking clarifications on when the emergency ends. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was one of those who raised this concern during the court hearing.
Some of the major employers, such as Starbucks, have dropped their vaccine mandate in its entirety, while others, such as Carhartt, have decided to keep mandatory vaccinations for their employees in place.
The federal policy of widespread mandatory vaccination imposed by OSHA was the first one in the country’s history implemented on such a broad national scale and would have affected about 80 million American workers in the private sector.