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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Right-wing news outlet asks court to block employer vaccine mandate

Conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro and his media outlet The Daily Wire filed a petition with the Sixth Circuit seeking to halt a federal mandate requiring all businesses with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their staff.

CINCINNATI (CN) — Within hours of the federal government formally issuing a vaccine mandate for all companies with more than 100 employees, The Daily Wire and conservative nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom filed a petition asking the Sixth Circuit to halt enforcement of what they call a "gross overreach" by the Biden administration.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday morning it has put into place an "emergency temporary standard to protect workers from coronavirus" that requires all employers with more than 100 employees to force workers get the Covid-19 vaccine or submit to regular testing to keep their jobs. The vaccine mandate was first announced in September.

The mandate will be implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, and will "save thousands of lives," according to the Labor Department.

President Joe Biden told reporters the mandate will not take effect until Jan. 4, 2022, and said "vaccination is the single best pathway out of this pandemic."

Employers will be required to provide paid time off to allow unvaccinated employees to get their shots, as well as to recover from any side effects.

Any employee who chooses not to receive the vaccine will be required to submit to weekly Covid-19 testing and mask mandates.

"Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on workers, and we continue to see dangerous levels of cases" said U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. "We must take action to implement this emergency temporary standard to contain the virus and protect people in the workplace against the grave danger of Covid-19."

Response to the mandate was swift and, in some instances, vitriolic. Conservative analyst Ben Shapiro immediately announced his media group, The Daily Wire, would fight OSHA's standard in court.

Alongside Alliance Defending Freedom, the Nashville-based Daily Wire filed a petition for review with the Sixth Circuit on Thursday seeking a declaration the order is unlawful, along with an immediate stay. Petitions for review of a final agency rule are brought in appellate courts.

ADF senior counsel Ryan Bangert filed the motion with the Cincinnati-based appeals court, and said in a statement the order unlawfully requires employers to "intrude on their employees' personal health decisions."

"The government has no authority to unilaterally treat unvaccinated employees like workplace hazards or to compel employers to become vaccine commissars, and we are asking the Sixth Circuit to put a stop to it immediately," he said.

Daily Wire co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing did not mince words in his statement about the mandate and ensuing legal challenge.

"The Daily Wire will not comply with President Biden’s tyrannical vaccine mandate, and we are suing the administration to put a stop to their gross overreach," Boreing said.

He added, "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."

ADF and The Daily Wire accuse the federal government of attempting to circumvent normal statutory procedure by using OSHA to implement a temporary standard that will not be subject to public comment.

"The mandate is unconstitutional 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," their press release said.

The conservative groups emphasized they take no position on any of the Covid-19 vaccines or whether employees should receive them, with The Daily Wire noting it has both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.

According to the Department of Labor, the mandate will cover more than two-thirds of the American workforce and could prevent more than 250,000 hospitalizations throughout the course of its implementation.

The agency said it will continue to monitor case and death numbers once the standard is put in place, and implement changes if they become necessary.

As written, the rule will require large employers to determine the vaccination status of all their employees, obtain proof of vaccination, and remove employees from the workforce when they test positive for Covid-19.

Unvaccinated employees will have to be tested on a weekly basis, and must wear masks when indoors or inside a vehicle with coworkers.

The rule does not require employers to pay for Covid-19 testing, unless required by other laws or collective bargaining agreements.

The government's press release emphasized that major airlines as well as retail and manufacturing corporations have already implemented similar policies to help protect their employees.

Shapiro announced his company's lawsuit via Twitter Thursday morning, and was uncharacteristically vulgar in his choice of words.

"We will fight this authoritarian bullshit. We have already filed a federal lawsuit," he said in one tweet, while adding later that, "Everyone in America has had the ability to get the vaxx. Now leave everyone the fuck alone."

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Categories / Business, Employment, Government, Health, Media, National

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