Dive Brief:

  • The attorneys general for 24 states in a Sept. 16 letter threatened legal action against the federal government in response to President Joe Biden’s recently announced employer vaccine mandate.
  • The signatories said the mandate will exacerbate a labor shortage, driving workers to quit rather than comply.
  • The AGs alleged that the order is not supported by federal law and said that if Biden doesn’t reverse course, they will “seek every available legal option.”

Dive Insight:

Biden announced Sept. 9 that the federal government — specifically, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — would soon require that employers with more than 100 employees mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for workers, with an option for workers to test weekly instead.

Neither the president nor OSHA has indicated a timeline for such a rule, but some employers have rolled out mandates in the meantime, perhaps viewing the announcement as cover for employee pushback. Still, legal challenges to this mandate are all but guaranteed, employment law experts have said.

And while mandates’ effects on the labor market remain to be seen, early reports are positive: United Airlines’ CEO told CNN last week that of its 67,000 employees, the number of those who have resigned over its mandate are in the “single digits.”

Employers implementing such mandates should prioritize consistent implementation and enforcement, experts previously told HR Dive. And HR also must be prepared to consider exemption requests as religious or disability accommodations.

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