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Breaking: WSU Keeps Employee Vaccine Mandate Despite Supreme Court Ruling

Wright State University Student Union | Photo by Marissa Couch | The Wright State Guardian

Wright State University Student Union | Photo by Marissa Couch | The Wright State Guardian

Wright State University (WSU) continues COVID-19 employee vaccine mandate while the U.S. Supreme Court pauses federal vaccine policy. 

Supreme Court decision 

The U.S. Supreme Court voted to stay, or pause,  President Joe Biden’s federal employee COVID vaccine mandate for all large employers in a crucial decision. 

In September 2021, President Biden issued executive order 14042 requiring employers with over 100 employees to require their employees to become vaccinated against COVID.

Multiple Republican states, including Ohio, along with the National Federation of Independent Businesses, challenged the executive order in lower courts, eventually taking the issue to the Supreme Court. 

In a 6–3 vote, the court issued a stay on Biden’s order on the grounds that the Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have jurisdiction to enforce a COVID employee vaccine mandate.

“Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization,” the court writes.

Due to this order, OSHA, the enforcers of Biden’s policy, will not be able to enforce the COVID employee vaccine mandate. 

The issue is pending further litigation and review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

WSU response

Despite this ruling, WSU’s COVID vaccine mandate for all WSU employees, including student employees, remains in effect.

“At this time, Wright State University has not withdrawn or modified its employee COVID-19 vaccination requirement,” Seth Bauguess, WSU director of communications, wrote.

Bauguess further explained that the decision was due to the fact that the OSHA emergency temporary standard, which was included in the Supreme Court case, did not apply to WSU, nor does any other federal injunction. 

“Other federal courts have temporarily prohibited the federal government from enforcing [the federal contractor mandate], and those preliminary injunctions are unaffected by the recent Supreme Court opinion,” according to Bauguess. 

WSU’s vaccine mandate was issued in part due to a federal contractor requirement for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. This rule also faced litigation and was likewise stayed by lower courts.

The University of Dayton has since lifted its employee vaccine requirement after pausing it and then reinstating it just two days prior to the Supreme Court ruling.

Wright State says it will continue to monitor legal battles in regards to the employee vaccine mandate.

Jamie Naylor