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COVID-19

Indiana files lawsuit against federal workplace safety agency over vaccination requirement

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Employees at a northern Indiana company get their temperatures checked as part of a screening protocol to prevent COVID-19 infections. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
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Indiana filed a legal argument late Friday night, asking a federal judge to halt federal vaccine requirements in the workplace. The state estimates it would impact roughly 2 million Hoosier workers in private sectors jobs.

Due to Indiana's status as having a "state plan" for workplace safety, it would also affect roughly 30,000 state employees and 260,000 local government employees.

In the lawsuit, Attorney General Todd Rokita's office argues the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created to focus on heightened risks in specific industries, not to regulate broad risks across all industries. It said the new rule could force a burdensome cost of testing onto employers and employees. Finally, lawyers for Indiana argue COVID-19 isn’t a "grave danger" – a standard that must be met to justify an emergency rule.

READ MORE: Indiana Attorney General suing federal government over COVID-19 vaccination workplace rules

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The complaint filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit says workplace vaccination requirements amount to overreach born out of “bureaucratic frustration with the free choices made by millions of Americans.”

A statement from Michelle Ellison, Indiana’s deputy commissioner for labor, noted the state would be required to notify the federal labor department if it intends to adopt the standard by mid-November. If not, it could put it's status as a federally-approved state plan in jeopardy. 

However, a similar legal argument in a Louisiana federal court has already stayed the emergency standard temporarily. It’s unclear how that might affect Indiana’s lawsuit. 

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.
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