Supreme Court Blocks Large Employer Vaccine-or-Testing Mandate

A vaccination mandate will still apply to most healthcare workers.

The Supreme Court has voted to block the Biden administration's rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing from their employees. The rule was part of a plan announced by the Biden administration in September 2021 to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Business groups, states, and other challengers to the rule had argued that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had exceed its Congressional authority in issuing such a sweeping rule. The Court agreed. "Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life — simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock — would significantly expand OSHA's regulatory authority without clear Congressional authorization," the Court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

However, the Court upheld a separate OSHA rule requiring the vaccination of healthcare workers in facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments. Those employers must require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Notably, this rule does not contain a weekly testing alternative.

If the large employer mandate had not been struck down, it would have covered about 84 million workers, roughly two-thirds of the American workforce. The portion of the mandate left standing after the Supreme Court's decision will cover 10.4 million healthcare workers in around 76,000 facilities.