OSHA’s new COVID-19 vaccine emergency temporary standard (ETS) was frozen by a federal appeals court in response to several lawsuits filed Friday.
A panel of judges in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay on the ETS, finding there was “cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the mandate.”
This unsigned order will halt the mandate temporarily, but it’s not a ruling on the merits of the policy, according to The Washington Post.
The Justice Department has until 5 p.m. Nov. 8 to respond to a request for a permanent halt to the ETS.
After weeks in review by the White House, the ETS was released Thursday, ordering companies with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their workers or force them to submit to weekly testing and regular mask wearing.
Some groups feel this “requirement is a fundamental overstep of federal authority,” although The Washington Post states it’s “supported by a majority of the American public according to public opinion surveys and is a critical step to increasing vaccination rates and getting the pandemic under more firm control, according to public health experts.”
While the future of the ETS is uncertain because of these legal challenges, The National Law Review states, “It will take weeks of planning for employers to comply with the ETS’s deadlines. Accordingly, employers may want to continue preparing for the ETS as if it is going to take effect while litigation continues.”