Kansas AG sues Biden administration over OSHA vaccine mandate for private employers

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19...
FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. Millions of U.S. workers now have a Jan. 4 deadline to get a COVID vaccine. The federal government on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 announced new vaccine requirements for workers at companies with more than 100 employees as well as workers at health care facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)(Matt Rourke | AP)
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 11:22 AM CDT
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TOPEKA (KWCH) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging the new federal vaccine mandate for private employers with more than 100 employees, which was promulgated today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The new mandate, issued as an “emergency temporary standard,” requires that employees either be vaccinated or receive frequent testing for COVID-19 and would apply to all private-sector employers with 100 or more employees, affecting thousands of Kansas workers and businesses.

Schmidt joined six other state attorneys general in filing a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, following through on his previous warnings about the doubtful legality of using OSHA emergency powers to mandate employee vaccinations or testing.

Friday’s filing asks the court to review the legality of the new mandate, arguing that OSHA lacks the statutory and constitutional authority to issue it. The attorneys general also plan to file a motion asking the court to stay the mandate pending the outcome of the case.

“Nothing in federal law gives OSHA this kind of far-reaching authority,” Schmidt said. “Businesses that do not comply would be subject to steep fines. And to make matters worse, state and federal governments have just announced they will stop paying the cost of testing for businesses, shifting that cost onto businesses themselves. The net effect of this overreaching federal mandate is to discourage private businesses from employ unvaccinated workers by making it more costly, once again threatening the livelihood of many Kansas workers and businesses and promising more disruptions to supply chains nationwide.”

“As I have said many times, I encourage Kansans to be vaccinated, but that personal health care decision should be made by each individual and not mandated by the federal government,” Schmidt said. “At a time when Kansas employers and employees are desperately seeking a return to normalcy, this mandate would further disrupt and impede their efforts in private workplaces all across Kansas.”

This case is the second filed by Schmidt challenging the federal government’s recent attempts to mandate vaccination. Last week, Schmidt joined six other attorneys general in filing a lawsuit asking a federal court to declare illegal a different federal vaccination mandate – one applying to businesses and universities that participate in federal contracts – and to block its implementation. That suit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division.

A copy of the lawsuit filed today is available at

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