Federal Court of Appeals Temporarily Blocks Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

November 7, 2021

[UPDATE: On Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, the Biden administration filed its response to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to block OSHA’s much anticipated COVID vaccine rule for private sector employers.]

A federal appeals court has put a temporary halt on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees, citing “grave statutory and constitutional issues” raised by the plaintiffs. The emergency stay was granted by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals two days after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring workers be vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022 or face mask requirements and weekly COVID testing.

Multiple states, including Ohio, have sued over the vaccine mandate. On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined six other attorneys general to file a lawsuit arguing that OSHA overstepped its role. Other lawsuits argue that the threat of COVID does not meet a grave enough standard to warrant the mandate.

The government must respond to the motion for a permanent injunction by 5 p.m. Monday, followed by petitioners’ reply on Tuesday.

In a statement, Anthony Coley, a spokesperson for the Justice Department said, “The OSHA emergency temporary standard is a critical tool to keep America’s workplaces safe as we fight our way out of this pandemic. The Justice Department will vigorously defend this rule in court.”

KJK will continue to stay on top of developments related to the workplace vaccine mandates and related legal challenges. In the meantime, please reach out to Labor & Employment Chair Rob Gilmore at rsg@kjk.com or 216.736.7240 with any questions.