FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s temporary emergency standard to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace is meeting resistance on several fronts, including legal action.
Effective January 4, 2022, OSHA requires all large employers, those with 100 or more employees, to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy that allows employees to choose either to get vaccinated, or to submit to COVID-19 every week. -19 tests and wearing a face covering at work.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Friday that he has joined six other attorneys general in filing a motion in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit challenging the action. Coalition members are asking the court to review the temporary emergency standard, which they say requires the vaccination of tens of millions of citizens.
“Many Kentuckians are concerned about the Biden administration’s overreach in issuing a federal vaccination mandate through OSHA, and our office is taking action on their behalf and on behalf of the Commonwealth,” said Cameron said. “The power to make these decisions belongs to the states, and the Biden administration cannot commandeer it to issue an overly broad and illegal mandate.”
Meanwhile, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, representing Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, also filed a petition Friday with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the ETS.
“We have no choice but to push back against this government intrusion into matters of conscience and religious belief,” said Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This seminary should not be forced to substitute for the government to investigate the private health decisions of our faculty and employees in a matter involving legitimate religious concerns. We are pleased to join Asbury Theological Seminary in taking a stand against government coercion. The fact that the largest American seminaries of the Baptist and Methodist traditions are here united against this mandate should send a clear and urgent message to Christians and to the nation.
As for the business community itself, the acting executive director of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, Shelley Goodwin, did not file a lawsuit, but issued a statement of opposition:
“Kentucky is already facing an unprecedented labor crisis and this new policy will only make it worse. While we fully support vaccination incentives and an employer’s right to implement workplace mandates, this decision should always be left to the employer. We do not believe that a broad federal mandate that imposes excessive burdens on businesses and individual employees is an appropriate or effective method to rebuild our labor pool, our supply chain and our national economy. »
At least 26 states have filed lawsuits challenging the rule.
“This warrant is unconstitutional, illegal, and reckless,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a filing with the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of 11 states.
The Biden Administration encouraged large-scale vaccinations as the fastest way out of the pandemic. A White House spokeswoman said Thursday the mandate was aimed at stopping the spread of a disease that has claimed more than 750,000 lives in the United States.
The administration says it’s confident its demand, which includes penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation, will withstand legal challenges in part because its security rules take precedence over state laws.
“The administration clearly has the power to protect workers, and the actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said during the interview. from a press briefing on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.