Gov. DeSantis announces Florida’s legal challenge to OSHA vaccine mandate

State will be joined in lawsuit by Georgia, Alabama

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis formally announced Thursday that Florida will present a legal challenge to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s order mandating companies with more than 100 employees require vaccinations for their workers.

“The state of Florida will be joining with Georgia and Alabama as well as private plaintiffs to file suit,” DeSantis said. “This is a rule that is not consistent with the Constitution and is not legally authorized through congressional statutes. The federal government can’t just unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation.”

The governor said the lawsuit will be filed Friday after the rule is published. He added the state would also file a motion to stay the order while it is litigated in the 11th Circuit Court.

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The order from OSHA is coming in conjunction with an order from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which will require healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated.

“This rule covers more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 healthcare facilities around the country,” according to the White House.

DeSantis said a similar suit would likely be on the way for the CMS rule change as well.

“We didn’t necessarily anticipate that being published the same time as the OSHA rule, but that has huge ramifications for all these health care providers and all these health care workers, and we’ve already seen in different parts of the country when those mandates have been put in, that’s caused huge disruption really across the board,” he said.

News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer said OSHA has issued emergency orders nine times before and all but one were overturned by the courts.

“If history is any judge on how this current rule will fair, it’s not likely this rule will survive, based on history alone,” Kramer said.

This latest federal lawsuit comes a week after the governor announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration. The state of Florida is suing the Biden administration over its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

That first lawsuit alleges the president doesn’t have the authority to issue the rule and that it violates procurement law.

The rules from OSHA, CMS and the Biden Administration have a deadline of Jan. 4, 2022, for all applicable workers to be fully vaccinated, otherwise, they would have to submit to COVID-19 testing at least once per week.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.