A US federal appeals court has issued a stay Saturday that freezes the Biden administration plan to require companies with 100 employees or more to institute mandatory vaccinations or weekly testing.
The Biden administration has to respond to the request for a permanent injunction by 5 PM Monday.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit arrives after other states filed legal challenges against the new rule, which is set to take effect on Jan 4.
Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda said the Labor Department was “confident in its legal authority” to issue the vaccination rule, which will be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them,” she said. “We are fully prepared to defend this standard in court.”
The mandate would apply to an estimated 84.2 million workers at 1.9 million private sector employers, OSHA said.
Saturday’s court order was responding to a joint petition from several businesses, advocacy groups, and the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.
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