OSHA Vaccine Mandate Denied by Supreme Court

Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for businesses over 100 employees. Laura Noble spoke with ABC News to discuss the impact OSHA’s vaccine mandate could have had on North Carolina businesses.

Lauren Johnson: Tonight people are talking about the Supreme Court’s decision earlier in the day blocking the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for large businesses. The justices say OSHA did not have the authority to enforce the mandate. The ruling effects some 80 million employees all across the nation. Joel Brown is live after talking to a group who sued the Biden administration about the ruling.

Joel Brown: We’re talking about the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The North Carolina branch represents 7000 businesses statewide, many of them smaller than 100 people, or slightly larger. The NFIB celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision tonight, they say that mandate went way too far.

Talking to Greg Thompson tonight not long after the Supreme Court decision went down. Thompson’s North Carolina director of the NFIB, the business group that led the way in suing the Biden administration to block the COVID vaccine mandates or periodic COVID tests for employers with 100+ workers.

You’re arguing it was an unfair burden?

Greg Thompson: Absolutely, unfair burden on the employer. We’re not anti-vaccine, but the situation is the mandate and the unintended consequences that [are] put on the business owner.

Brown: Thompson’s group complained the mandate added up to burdensome costs to comply: lost profit, lost sales, and would worsen the labor shortage, threatening an already fragile recovery. The high court’s conservative majority siding with the business group that OSHA doesn’t have the authority to impose a mandate without approval from Congress.

Laura Noble: Our office has been flooded by phone calls from folks since the beginning of the pandemic.

Brown: Employment law attorney, Laura Noble, says calls about workplace COVID rules have been nonstop at her offices. Here in the Triangle, corporate giants including Citrix, Lenovo, Red Hat, and SAS, all imposed vaccination mandates for workers.

Today’s decision does not impact those?

Noble: Because there is a difference between what the government can require your employer to do, which, right now, is nothing, and what the employer can do on its own accord. So, an employer in North Carolina can still legally require you, an employee, to get vaccinated to get tested. It is still within their legal rights. Brown: It is still within their legal rights. Meantime, President Biden issuing a statement tonight saying he is disappointed by the high court’s decision. However, the Justices did allow a separate rule to take effect, which requires COVID shots for healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments from the federal government.

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