WASHINGTON — The BidenAdministration MondayThey argued that the federal government had all power to require large employers to require vaccinations of their workers against the flu. Covid-19 virus — or to require those who refuse the shots to wear masks and submit to weekly testing.
InA 28-page file must be submitted before the United States CourtThis is AppealsFor the Fifth CircuitThe mandate was temporarily blocked by the government with a nationwide stay. Justice DepartmentThey argued that the rule was necessary in order to protect workers against the pandemic. This argument was supported by law.
Keeping the mandate from coming into effect “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day, in addition to large numbers of hospitalizations, other serious health effects, and tremendous costs,” the Justice DepartmentIt was included in its filing. “That is a confluence of harms of the highest order.”
The Occupational Safety Health Administration, a part of the Labor DepartmentThe standard was issued by the, last week. TheCompanies with more than 100 employees would be required to require their employees to wear masks indoors. Dec. 5. EmployeesThose who have not been vaccinated Jan. 4 would have weekly testing at the workplace.
A coalition of plaintiffs — including several employers, and Republican-controlled states — have challenged the mandate in court. TheirA lawsuit argued that the mandate is an illegal overreach and exceeds the authority CongressOSHA has been legally delegated.
Theagency, many of the plaintiffs argued in 20-page filing Nov. 7, is an occupational safety organization with limited jurisdiction to protect workers from dangerous workplace substances like asbestos — “not a public health agency with wide-ranging authority to address communicable diseases through regulation.”
They also argued that raising concerns about workplace safety was just a “pretext” for the Biden administration’s real agenda — pressuring more AmericansTo get vaccinated.
LastWeek, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit temporarily blocked the new standard, saying in a terse unsigned opinion that the challengers had given “cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate.”
The Fifth CircuitPanel will now decide whether to reverse its decision to block the mandate, or make it permanent. ButIt is unlikely that they will have the last word.
SomeOther legal challengers are in different appeals courts circuits. The many pending cases are expected to be consolidated at an randomly assigned appeals judge later this month. TheIssue is likely to be resolved before the Supreme Court.
PartYou can find the Justice Department’s filing pointed to the process of randomly selecting an appeals court to consolidate the cases from across the country — and the fact that the deadlines for the mandate have not yet kicked in — as a reason for the Fifth Circuitto be restrained. But other portions of the filing served as a preview of the administration’s broader arguments.
The filing argued that OSHA had properly determined that potential exposure to the virus raised a “grave danger” to workers, in line with the standard CongressClearly stated in the law. It also rejected the challengers’ contention that steps to reduce the risk of infection by a disease fell outside the sorts of workplace hazards that the agency had the power to regulate.
The Justice Department wrote that “the statutory text is unambiguous and limited to addressing grave dangers to employees in the workplace. LikeThere are many other areas of regulation that may impact workplace-safety regulations. AmericansThese may touch on topics that some people disagree with. But that does not automatically compel a circumscribed interpretation of a deliberately broad congressional grant.”
Karine Jean-Pierre, The principal deputy White HouseAccording to a press secretary, Monday that it was routine for administration policies to face legal challenges and urged employers not to wait for the litigation to be completed before requiring their workers to get vaccinated — as some already have — or begin submitting to weekly testing.
NotingMore than 750,000 AmericansHave died from Covid-19, with approximately 1,300 deaths per day in the United StatesShe argued that the mandate was to protect workers from the possibility of contracting the coronavirus.
“ThisWe believe that this authority is the best. DepartmentThis is Labor has — we are very confident about it,” she said, adding: “This is about keeping people safe in the workplace, and it’s critical and it’s important to do.”
The White HouseAnnounced in SeptemberThe federal government would issue and encourage a variety of vaccination mandates, including those for federal workers, federal contractors employees and federal recipients.
“We’ve been patient,” Mr. BidenAt the time, it was referring to around 80 million AmericansPeople who refuse to be vaccinated increase the chance that the coronavirus will find new hosts. “ButOur patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.”
TheThe part of litigation that focuses on is Mr. Biden’s mandate plan that applies to companies that employ more than 100 workers. ItRelies on an immediate provision of the Occupational Safety Health Act1970, which allows the federal government to regulate workplaces to ensure worker safety.
At Mr. Biden’s direction, OSHA developed an “emergency temporary standard” based on a claim that workers face a “grave danger” at work from the virus and that mandating vaccinations or frequent testing is a necessary and feasible way for employers to reduce the danger of serious illness, hospitalization or death.
TheEmployees who work alone or in close proximity to others at work are exempted from the rule.
TheThe standard was published by the agency Nov. 4. The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on the following day.
IfIf the court allows the rule to take effect, OSHA will be empowered to collect violations reports and send inspectors to inspect workplaces. Fines starting at $13,650 per violation can escalate to up $136,500 for repeated or willful offenses.
In JuneOSHA used the same authority for an emergency rule that targeted health care workers. ItThey were required to provide protective equipment such as masks to workers and to ensure adequate ventilation. ButThis power has never been used by the agency to impose a broad vaccination mandate on all large employers.
Source: NY Times