Minnesota businesses await more advice following Biden vaccine mandate

President Joe Biden provides details on his COVID-19 response plan.

President Joe Biden has announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates as part of his latest response plan, but Minnesota business owners are still waiting for more guidance as the dust settles.

Part of that mandate states that all employers with more than 100 workers must require vaccinations or tests for the virus every week. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, more than 4,800 businesses and 1.4 million employees could be affected by this.

Nationwide lawsuits challenging that mandate are already underway, including one by the Republican National Committee.

Meanwhile, many companies are eager to hear the details of the plan. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doug Loon said he and thousands of Minnesota businesses are awaiting details on the president’s vaccine tenure as they already consider health from their place of work.

“But it adds a new level of complexity to it and a burden on businesses at a time when they are really focused on getting back to business,” Loon said.

Loon says he’s also monitoring to see if court challenges are holding back the tenure.

However, Professor David Larson of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law says that due to federal workplace safety laws under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the president has legal status to issue a warrant.

“Since we are in a public health emergency, given that the government has policing powers, given that we have current federal law that says we can compel employers to provide a safe workplace, I think we have the legal authority to do so, ”Larson said.

Either way, the president’s tenure is likely to be challenged in court. Local employment attorney Marshall Tanick says that since the start of the pandemic, he has seen several lawsuits filed by companies trying to end COVID-19 warrants.

“The lawsuits have been numerous and they have been very unsuccessful overall, including the ones here in Minnesota,” Tanick said.

Similar to these cases, he expects lawsuits brought by individuals or unions to have a better chance of winning in court.

“I imagine that if there is any litigation, most of that litigation will be an attempt to stop the implementation of the president’s order,” Tanick said.

A lawsuit could end this mandate before it is implemented. It is not known when all of this might take effect.

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