Federal Appeals Court Reaffirms Stay of OSHA Vaccine Requirements

Tony Lee By Tony Lee November 13, 2021

[Update: The Supreme Court halted OSHA's ETS on Jan. 13, and OSHA officially withdrew the rule, effective Jan. 26.]

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) new rules requiring vaccinations or weekly testing for all employees at companies with at least 100 workers were blocked again last night by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which called the new rules a "mandate" and added that it "grossly exceeds OSHA's statutory authority." 

The court had previously stayed the order pending a range of legal challenges in what is expected to be a lengthy legal battle over the emergency temporary standard (ETS). The court ordered OSHA to "take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order."

Employment attorneys say the legality of the OSHA ETS likely won't be decided until it is reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Justice Department, which was contesting the appeals court's original stay, responded to the ruling in a statement: "Today's decision is just the beginning of the process for review of this important OSHA standard. The department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to obtaining a definitive resolution following consolidation of all of the pending cases for further review."

For more information on the OSHA ETS, including guidelines for implementing the new standard, visit SHRM's COVID-19 vaccination resource center



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