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Alabama labor lawyer talks about OSHA rule mandating COVID vaccines

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -Thursday, the Biden administration introduced new rules for American workers to get mandated vaccinations. The rule is coming from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Back in September, President Biden said he would be coming with new mandates for companies with 100 or more workers. Biden has implemented mandates for federal employees and contractors, which includes state universities. While the President pushed back his deadline, many legal experts say this mandate is heading for a court battle.

Originally, President Biden wanted workers to get vaccinated by December 8th or their companies could face OSHA fines. The latest requirement moved the deadline to January 4th of 2022. “After consulting with businesses and listening to what they had to say, the deadline for compliance with this rule got put off to January. So, it doesn’t hit in the middle of the shopping season, the holiday season,” said Birmingham attorney Barry Ragsdale.

Companies that lobbied for the delay feared losing workers who refused to comply with mandate. Workers who don’t get vaccinated would be forced to submit to weekly testing. “An employer has to provide time off, paid time off to go get vaccinated, but there is not requirement the employer provide time off or pay for testing,” Ragsdale said.

Ragsdale said the OSHA rule is aimed at pushing employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Ragsdale said he fully expects the latest development to lead to a series of lawsuits being filed by employees, companies or even state officials. “We are still headed to court. We are already there in some incidences against the OSHA rule before the OSHA rule was even written,” Ragsdale said.

Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined a lawsuit in Georgia opposing the mandated vaccinations for federal contractors. “If we don’t try to stop an overreach in the use of OSHA regulations, then the question is going to be what is next,” Marshall said.

Ragsdale believes opponents of the vaccine mandates will find a judge who will issue a nationwide preliminary injunction and stop the orders from going into effect until a court case is heard. He contends much of what the Biden administration is doing has been upheld in courts in efforts to protect the safety of workers in the workplace in the past.

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