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11/11/2021

NRF Joins Industry Groups in Lawsuit Over Vaccine Mandate

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has joined a handful of industry groups in a lawsuit seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate on private employers.
covid vaccine

The requirements, which impact roughly 100 million workers, mandate that companies with more than 100 employees ensure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022, or that they test negative weekly. 

NRF filed suit Nov. 9 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, alongside the American Trucking Associations, FMI - The Food Industry Association, the International Warehouse Logistics Association, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The association believes the mandate is too burdensome on the retail industry and will worsen current labor conditions.

“We are deeply concerned about the timing for implementing the OSHA vaccine mandate during the most important season of the year for retailers and customers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Our members are already facing workforce shortages and supply chain disruptions, in addition to the legal and practical challenges of implementing this ETS during the holiday season.”

NRF has been engaged in the vaccine mandate conversation for several weeks, sending a letter to President Biden following publication of the mandate from OSHA on Nov. 5. The retail association sent another letter to the Department of Labor and President Biden on Nov. 9 requesting an extension on the implementation of the mandate.

“The Dec. 6 deadline to provide proof of employee vaccination status and the Jan.4 deadline for testing unvaccinated employees are both unworkable and virtually impossible,” Shay said. “We have consistently and repeatedly communicated our concerns about the practical challenges of meeting those arbitrary targets. However, it appears that our only remaining course of action is to petition for judicial relief.”

The lawsuit states that unless the courts intervene and issue a stay, American businesses will face “irreparable harm.”

“This is a case about American businesses that do not want to face the immediate irreparable harm of losing employees, incurring substantial and unrecoverable compliance costs, and worsening already fragile supply chains and labor markets,” the suit reads.

Businesses that fail to comply with the mandate could face serious fines ranging from $13,653 to $136,532 for those who willfully violate the rules.