On Tuesday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended the implementation and enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers. The decision comes after a federal court blocked the measure.
OSHA’s website page which updates the COVID Vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) reads: “While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”
National Review reports that just last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit fully blocked Biden’s executive order. The order mandated all companies with over 100 workers implement a vaccine mandate for all their employees.
The court ordered OSHA to “take no steps to implement of enforcing” the vaccine mandate “until further court order.”
On Thursday, November 4, 2021, OSHA’s ETS website published covid-19 vaccination and testing requirements for private employers with 100 or more employees throughout the United States.
On November 6, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, issued a preliminary ruling “staying” implementation of the ETS pending further briefing in the court. November 12, the court entered an opinion which “signaled in the strongest of possible terms that tit was poised to find that the rule does exceed OSHA’s statutory authority in several ways and is unconstitutional” reports National Law Review.
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Watchdog: Pentagon likely rushed denials of COVID-19 vaccine Religious Exemption requests
The Army only approved just 24 religious COVID-19 vaccine exemption requests out of a total 8,514 requests submitted by active duty soldiers, and 1,602 requests have been rejected while the rest remain pending.
Military.com obtained information showing the Pentagon rushed vaccine exemption denials:
Sean O’Donnell, the Pentagon’s inspector general, wrote in a June 2 memo to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin obtained by Military.com calling attention to a “concerning” trend in which military brass rushed to reject vaccine-exemption petitions rather than giving each request due consideration.
“We found a trend of generalized assessments rather than the individualized assessment that is required by Federal law and DoD and Military Service policies,” he said. “Some of the appellate decisions included documentation that demonstrated a greater consideration of facts and circumstances involved in a request.”
In March, a Texas judge blocked the Navy from dismissing sailors with pending exemption requests and in August, a Florida federal judge ordered class action relief and granted an injunction barring the federal government from enforcing the vaccine mandate for the Marine Corps.
National Review writes, “For the last year, military has been struggling with a recruitment problem. As of July, with only three months left in the fiscal year, the Army had met only 40 percent of its recruitment goal and reduced its active-duty force by 12,000 troops.”
O’Donnell calculated that officials likely gave each appeal a cursory glance rather than a thorough examination, possibly opening the door to litigation from service members who had to resign after they failed to obtain exemptions. Across all the branches, there were about 50 denials per day in a 90-day period, he determined. Over a thousand Coast Guardsmen have already tried to launch a class-action lawsuit in response to their being refused religious exemptions, the publication noted.
“The volume and rate at which decisions were made to deny requests is concerning,” the memo read. “Assuming a 10-hour work day with no breaks or attention to other matters, the average review period was about 12 minutes for each package. Such a review period seems insufficient to process each request in an individualized manner and still perform the duties required of their position.”
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