Letter follows U.S. Supreme Court decision to temporarily halt OSHA mandate for large employers
FRANKFORT, Ky. (January 19, 2022) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today led a coalition of 27 attorneys general in a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), asking the agency to withdraw its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large employers. The letter follows a 6-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, which temporarily halted the Biden Administration’s OSHA vaccine mandate in response to a legal challenge brought by Attorney General Cameron and other state attorneys general in addition to trade groups, nonprofits, and private businesses.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, OSHA has not withdrawn the emergency temporary standard (ETS), which would require vaccination for tens of millions of employees across the country.
“In response to our lawsuit challenging the OSHA vaccine mandate, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Biden Administration and OSHA lack the authority to mandate vaccines for hundreds of thousands of employees in Kentucky,” said Attorney General Cameron. “In light of the ruling from our nation’s highest court, it is my hope that the Biden Administration will respect the court’s decision and withdraw the current OSHA mandate."
In the letter, the coalition maintains that the current OSHA mandate is unlawful because the agency does not have the authority to issue a broad vaccine mandate for larger employers. The letter states that, “[T]he [Occupational Safety and Health] Act was designed to address dangers employees face at work because of their work—not dangers that are no more prevalent at work than in society generally. The United States Supreme Court agrees and held that the ETS—or any similar permanent standard for that matter—fails to address a unique workplace hazard and is therefore unlawful.”
The coalition also described the detrimental effect that the OSHA mandate will have on employers and businesses if it goes into effect: “The ETS fails to adequately consider the widespread economic damage the vaccine mandate may cause. This impact will be especially felt by vulnerable small businesses if a permanent standard applies to them.”
The letter was sent to OSHA as part of the federal government’s formal regulatory comment process. Attorney General Cameron led the letter and was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming in signing it.
To view a copy of the letter, click here.