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A conservative-leaning U.S. appeals court in Cincinnati was randomly selected on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, to decide challenges to the Biden administration's new rules requiring many employers to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly for Covid-19. Legal challengers have petitioned federal appeals courts around the country to review the rules, formally issued earlier this month by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The requirements, which apply to businesses with 100 or more employees and cover roughly 84 million workers, are to take effect Jan. 4. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation conducted a random lottery Tuesday to determine which of the nation's 12 regional appeals courts would be the designated home for the cases. The winner was the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The outcome means another appeals court that has thwarted a number of Biden administration initiatives -- the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit -- will have to cede control of cases filed before it. The Fifth Circuit had already issued a preliminary stay blocking the employer rules for now, before it was decided which court would retain jurisdiction. The Fifth Circuit in a Friday, November 12, 2021, ruling said the Biden rules exceeded OSHA's powers and would create economic upheaval. OSHA has officially suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation. The administration continues to argue its rules are on solid legal footing and a necessary step to prevent coronavirus transmission in workplaces. With a court assignment now completed, the Justice Department can ask the Sixth Circuit to lift the Fifth Circuit's stay. The matter could quickly land on the Supreme Court's emergency docket before the vaccine-or-testing requirement takes effect on January 4, 2022.
GCCA has developed a Fact Sheet to help members understand the ETS. It can be found HERE.
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