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Vaccine mandate: Federal appeals court temporarily halts Biden’s vaccine rule

Charter Co-Founder and CEO Kevin Delaney joins Yahoo Finance Live's Zack Guzman and Karina Mitchell to discuss why workers are pushing back against OSHA's January 4 vaccine mandate as corporations are already cooperating with the policy.

Video Transcript

KARINA MITCHELL: Welcome back. Well, a federal appeals court has temporarily halted the nationwide implementation of President Biden's mandate that employees at companies with more than 100 employees be vaccinated by January 4th. Here to discuss that is Kevin Delaney, Charter co-founder and CEO. Mr. Delaney, thank you so much for being here. Just want, if you could, set us up. Who came forward with this objection, and what is it that they are objecting to?

KEVIN DELANEY: Basically, they're a group of businesses who have actually sued the administration about the rule that would be-- require large businesses to have a vaccine mandate that would go into effect in January. There's an appeals court on Saturday that, in Louisiana, actually stayed the implementation of the rule, pending an examination of the rule. What these businesses are objecting to is they say that the rule, the vaccine mandate, is actually unconstitutional. And it goes beyond what an administration like the Labor Department and OSHA are allowed to require, and that it should instead be-- require an act of Congress to do that.

ZACK GUZMAN: And Kevin, I mean, as we see this kind of rolled out, you know, there have been multiple states that have sued to kind of stop this and slow it down. The Biden administration has continued pushed back, saying, look, you know, the law says we can do this just because, you know, safety in terms of what OSHA does preempts state laws around this. So they seem pretty confident in their case.

But the main thing here is that it's slowing down the thing that it was set out to do, which is make sure people get vaccinated and try and incentivize it. So I mean, when you look at the way that this battle is going to go, what does it maybe say about different routes the administration could have taken to make sure companies were on board in the way that they saw fit?

KEVIN DELANEY: Yeah, well, there always was going to be objections to this. And so, I think, you know, you could expect this. Legal experts who I've consulted have said that administrations and agencies like OSHA actually have fairly wide latitude constitutionally to establish rules like this. So there is a question mark above the implementation of this vaccine mandate, but the legal consensus seems to be that it actually stands a decent chance of going forward.

What could the Biden administration have done differently? I'm not really sure. Where we are going to see a test of a similar mandate this month when federal employees are actually required to be vaccinated. And there's a significant number of them, including some in some of the law enforcement arms of the federal government. They're actually not vaccinated still. There's a whole procedure involving counseling, suspension, and potentially, eventually, dismissal for those employees. So, a bit later this month, we'll see a test of what this could look like to roll out more broadly in the private sector.

KARINA MITCHELL: Even if the Biden administration and OSHA are able to push this through, isn't it really difficult to enforce this on a federal level? I mean, every company has different sort of policies and rules. How do they have the oversight? Who has the oversight to have the final word on all of this?

KEVIN DELANEY: Yeah, so the OSHA inspectors actually do inspect workplaces, and they have a kind of whistleblower system. So if workers are aware of violations, they're able to report it to OSHA, which then follows up. They can then fine the employers for non-compliance. So it's basically this would be enforced in the same way that any labor-- any federal labor regulation would be enforced. Will it be strictly enforced? You know, I think your point is correct, that there are a lot of businesses with 100 or more employees in this country, and it's impossible to expect 100% compliance. But the measures are there, as they are for any labor regulation, to require enforcement.