SCOTUS Says Biden Can't Enforce A Vaccine Mandate, But Blackstone Will Anyway
The Supreme Court Thursday blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's nationwide worker vaccine mandate, but some U.S. employers are still moving forward with requiring employees to get Covid-19 booster shots, with Blackstone the latest to join a league of Wall Street firms announcing new vaccine mandates.
The New York-based investment firm with a huge commercial property portfolio told employees they must get boosters “as soon as practically possible,” according to a Bloomberg report. Employees will not be able to return to the office if they fail to do so. The company said it will also be testing employees in the office three times a week.
Other Wall Street firms taking similar measures include Goldman Sachs Group, which announced its booster mandate last month. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said this week the firm is not allowing unvaccinated workers in the office, and “we’re not going to pay you not to work in the office.”
An emergency measure by OSHA went into effect this week in which workers at businesses with 100 or more employees must get vaccinated or submit to weekly Covid testing to enter the workplace. The Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing these measures, which could result in an easing of rules for U.S. companies that aren’t creating their own mandates.
Blackstone is one of several companies that has delayed its return-to-office plans. It first asked U.S. staff to return to the office full time by June 2021, and that date has been kicked to Jan. 28 after several variants, the newest being omicron, prompted employers to rethink timelines.
“Employees who take no action can face disciplinary measures, including termination. Obviously, this would be a last resort,” a spokesperson told Reuters.
Google told employees last month they could lose their job if they don’t comply with vaccination policies.
There were 740,594 Covid cases reported each day on average over the week leading to Jan. 10, its highest point yet, according to NBC News. The U.S. reported about 1.3 million cases in total on Monday, beating the previous record of 1 million set on Jan. 3.
This surge in cases in part prompted dissension from liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan regarding the Supreme Court ruling.
“In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed,” they said in their dissent.