On November 4, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new “emergency temporary standard” (ETS) creating a COVID-19 mandate affecting more than 84 million workers. The ETS requires all employees in workplaces of 100 or more to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or else undergo weekly testing with negative results. The unvaccinated are also required to wear facemasks on the job.
Failure to comply will subject employers to an approximately $14,000 fine per violation.
The announcement was immediately met by a legal challenge brought by the media company, The Daily Wire, represented by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Dhillon Law Group. The lawsuit was filed in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, and asserts that OSHA lacks the constitutional and statutory authority to issue the mandate, and illegally omitted the public comment process leading up to the ETS.
Back on September 9, President Joe Biden first announced OSHA would be drafting such a rule. In a fact sheet issued by the White House simultaneously with the November 4 OSHA announcement, the administration declared, “[M]ore vaccinations are needed to save lives, protect the economy, and accelerate the path out of the pandemic.”
The Daily Wire, however, objects to being forced to regulate their employees’ lives, especially where medical and religious factors come into play.
“The Daily Wire will not comply with President Biden’s tyrannical vaccine mandate, and we are suing the Biden Administration to put a stop to their gross overreach,” said Daily Wire Co-Founder and Co-CEO Jeremy Boreing in an article posted on the company’s website. “President Biden, the federal government, social media, and the establishment media have conspired to rob Americans of their freedoms in the name of public health. They have broken faith with the American people through conflicting messaging, false information, and by suppressing data and perspectives with which they disagree.”
Harmeet K. Dhillon of the Dhillon Law Group, who, along with ADF, represents The Daily Wire, calls the ETS “unprecedented and unlawful.”
“The federal government lacks the legal authority to compel private employers to play the role of vaccine or COVID police, lacks the police power to force private employees to undergo medical treatment, and may not ignore constitutional limits on its ability to regulate every aspect of our lives,” Dhillon said in an ADF press release. “The Biden administration’s attempt to impose this unprecedented and unlawful federal medical mandate on the U.S. workforce without considering the public’s views is arbitrary, capricious, unsupported by the evidence, and would produce a willfully ignorant rule.”
The OSHA ETS is unconstitutional, according to ADF, because “the Constitution does not grant Congress – much less OSHA – the general police powers needed to mandate vaccination and virus testing as a condition of private employment, or to deputize employers to enforce that mandate on its behalf.”
Back in September, when the possibility of such an OSHA action was first announced, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly told Focus employees that “as a ministry, we have deep concerns with what has been reported regarding this proposed policy.”
Focus takes no position on COVID-19 vaccination, believing that is a choice best left up to the individual. However, Daly did interview two infectious disease specialists who serve on the ministry’s Physicians Resource Council about COVID-19 vaccines for the ministry’s daily broadcast in December 2020 that might be of interest to Christians.
Photo from Shutterstock.