HARTFORD, CT. (WFSB) - President Joe Biden took his most aggressive action yet to get more people vaccinated, he announced two executive orders requiring roughly 100 million people to get vaccinated. One them applies to all companies with at least 100 workers, setting a requirement to get vaccinated or take weekly tests. So how are business leaders responding?
Businesses have some concerns, including whether this will drive away workers at a time when it’s already hard to hire. It’s likely we’ll see a legal challenge.
So, can Biden’s executive order stand?
William Dunlap, Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University said, “That’s the essence of OSHA’s authority in the workplace, to protect the workers.”
Quinnipiac University Professor Tuvana Rua said businesses that were considering a mandate of their own are happy Biden did it for them, but other companies are worried.
They’re already having a hard time hiring, and employees opposed to the vaccine could choose to work for companies with less than 100 employees.
“This mandate kind of, kind of gives you the freedom to do so, so the pressure is taken away from you,” said Rua. “You will also see others who could not come out because they were worried that they could get sick.”
She said other workers could feel more comfortable returning to work though.
Companies could face fines of up to $14,000 if they don’t comply. But how will workers show proof?
“There are other companies that are jumping on this, trying to create the platform where you upload this,” Rua explained.
Some business owners are also objecting to the idea of a vaccine mandate. Experts said Biden will likely face a legal challenge. Would he win?
Brian Marks the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program at the University of New Haven said, “Generally speaking, he does have the authority, it comes down to the details and how they justify that authority.”
Biden ordered OSHA to enact a temporary emergency standard, allowing them to rush a work-place standard.
Experts said opponents will have a better chance arguing Biden is abusing that power, arguments about individual or state’s rights are less likely to succeed.
“OSHA exists specifically for this purpose, right?” said Rua.
Marks explained, “The federal government can regulate those things in and affecting interstate commerce.”
Biden can also make vaccinations a condition for federal funds, like he did Thursday for medical facilities that get Medicare and Medicaid.
Congress can try to assert its power over the budget, but experts say that’s less likely because democrats control both chambers.