The United States Supreme Court declared on January 13th that a stay on the vaccine mandate prevails, making the requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees to have their employees vaccinated or undergo weekly coronavirus testing unenforceable.
The Court ruled 6-3.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the court wrote in its ruling opinion. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
The Court’s three liberal justices all dissented. “It’s an extraordinary use of emergency power occurring in an extraordinary circumstance, a circumstance that this country has never faced before,” Associate Justice Elena Kagan said.
The news comes hot off the heels of another bombshell for the trucking industry: the vaccine mandate would have not been enforced often for the trucking industry in the first place.
“…paragraph (b)(3) provides that, even where the standard applies to a particular employer, its requirements do not apply to employees ‘who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present’ or employees ‘who work exclusively outdoors. Therefore, the requirements of the ETS do not apply to truck drivers who do not occupy vehicles with other individuals as part of their work duties. Additionally, the requirements of the ETS do not apply to truck drivers who encounter other individuals exclusively in outdoor environments,” OSHA recently updated on their website.
The vaccine mandate would have applied to team drivers before the Supreme Court ruling, but now will not.
Are there ways to skirt around the rulings of the Supreme Court? Yes, but it is not easy. OSHA could rework the vaccine mandate to apply to a much higher employee count, such as 250, which would apply to fewer Americans, and then the process would start all over again.
Whatever the case, OSHA has said on their website that they are not going after truckers who drive alone in their big rigs, so hopefully the trucking industry is in the clear from needing the jab.
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