ATTACKS ON VAX « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Two Supreme Court Rulings with Opposite Results 

The U.S. Supreme Court has come to opposite conclusions in two cases challenging federally mandated COVID-19 vaccinations.

Companies with 100+ Employees

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Dept. of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Court (6-3) invalidated mandatory requirements to vaccinate or test weekly for companies with 100+ workers. The majority found that OSHA exceeded its authority by:

  • Imposing such requirements via Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) enacted without the normally required rule-making process, including public comment; and
  • Ordering a broad public health measure for the first time in its existence, affecting 84 million people for a “universal risk,” and not a particular workplace occupational hazard.

The Court placed the ETS on hold  until the lower Court of Appeals conducts its review of these nationwide standards and its decision receives any Supreme Court review.

Healthcare Workers at Medicare and Medicaid Facilities

In Biden v. Missouri, a five-justice majority ruled the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (Secretary) may enforce a mandatory vaccination rule for medical facility employees, contractors, and volunteers.  Non-complying employers may have their Medicare and Medicaid contracts terminated. The majority found:

  • The Secretary had acted within the authority conferred by Congress to protect health and safety of patients in those facilities; and
  • Even though the vaccine mandate goes further than prior rules, it is routine for the Secretary to impose conditions related to infectious diseases and worker qualifications on such medical facilities.

The Court’s ruling is temporary while the lower appeals court, and potentially the Supreme Court, review the Secretary’s mandate more closely.

Both cases drew strong dissents taking issue with the premises for the rulings.


  • Medical facilities providing Medicare or Medicaid-covered services must comply with the Secretary’s mandate pending final outcome in the Biden case;
  • Whatever the final outcome of either case, affected employers – and employers of any size – must ensure they comply with applicable state and local vaccination requirements;
  • Competent legal advice is crucial in navigating the ever-changing universe of laws, guidances, and rules covering COVID-19.

For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

See also:

Helena Kobrin
January 21, 2022

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