NC businesses cheer Supreme Court ruling that blocks Biden's business vaccine mandate

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Friday, January 14, 2022
NC businesses cheer Supreme Court ruling blocking vaccine mandate
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North Carolina businesses cheered the Supreme Court's decision blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- At the Raleigh offices of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, they cheered Thursday's Supreme Court decision. The North Carolina branch represents 7,000 businesses -- many of them smaller than 100 employees or slightly larger. The group has insisted since last fall that President Joe Biden's vaccination mandate for businesses went too far.

"Yes, we're very pleased with the decision," Gregg Thompson, NFIB state director, told ABC11.

Thompson's group led the way in suing the Biden administration to block the COVID-19 vaccine mandates or periodic COVID tests for employers with 100 or more workers. The NFIB argued it was an unreasonable burden.

"It's absolutely an unfair burden on the employer," Thompson said. "We're not anti-vaccine. The situation is the mandate and the unintended consequences that it put on the business owner."

NFIB complained that the mandate added up to burdensome costs to comply; lost profit; lost sales; and would worsen the labor shortage, threatening an already fragile recovery.

The high court's conservative majority sided with the business group, ruling that OSHA does not have the authority to impose a mandate without approval from Congress.

Employment law attorney Laura Noble, managing partner of The Noble Law Firm, said calls about workplace COVID rules are non-stop at her offices in Raleigh, Charlotte and New York.

"Our office has been flooded by phone calls from folks since the beginning of the pandemic," Noble said.

Here in the Triangle, corporate giants including Citrix, Lenovo, Red Hat and SAS all imposed vaccination mandates for workers. Thursday's Supreme Court decision will have no effect on those requirements.

"Because there's a difference between what the government can require your employer to do, which right now is nothing, and what the employer can do on its own accord," Noble said. "So an employer in North Carolina can still legally require you, employee, to be vaccinated or get tested. That is still within their legal rights."

Biden issued a statement, Thursday night, to say he was "disappointed: by the Supreme Court decision. However, the justices did allow a separate rule to take effect which requires COVID shots for healthcare workers at facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments from the federal government.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, applauded the court's decision.

"The Supreme Court is right to block the Biden Administration's sweeping federal vaccine and testing mandate, which continues to face ongoing legal challenges," said Burr, who is Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. "If enacted, the federal mandate would affect 84 million workers, regardless of whether or not they face occupational risks from COVID-19. As the Court notes, the Biden Administration is attempting to instate a broad public health requirement that far exceeds OSHA's legal authority and historic precedent."

Burr like NFIB director Thompson, said he is not against vaccines for people who want them.

"I'm a huge proponent of encouraging every American who is eligible to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19," Burr said. "Amid supply chain issues and labor shortages, however, the last thing we need to do is place unnecessary pressure on an already strained workforce. Instead, I hope the Administration will focus on developing a long-term strategy on COVID-19."