INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a regulation requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to have their workers vaccinated for COVID-19 or be tested weekly.
“Plus there were all kinds of recordkeeping, and potential fines of up to $14,000. It was going to be a real burden for employers,” said Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Brinegar praised the ruling.
Also on Thursday, the high court upheld by a narrow 5-4 margin another Biden administration policy requiring health care workers to be vaccinated from COVID-19 if their employers receive payments from Medicare and Medicaid.
Jody Madiera, an Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor, said, “You still have the same concerns from four of the conservative justices, who are concerned about forcing health care workers to undergo a health care procedure that they cannot undo, but, of course, health care providers are already required to get several vaccinations.”
Madiera said the Biden administration may have had an easier time having a workplace vaccine mandate upheld by the high court if it was passed by an act of Congress rather than through a regulation issued by a government agency, which, in this case, was the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“The six conservative justices said while OSHA gave Congress the power to regulate occupational dangers, they did not give OSHA the power to regulate public health more broadly.”
Madiera said if the justices would have upheld this OSHA regulation, it would have superseded a bill being debated in the Indiana General Assembly. House Bill 1001 would restrict the ability of Hoosier companies to impose vaccine mandates on employees.