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Can employers avoid Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate?

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EAST PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) -- It was last Thursday when President Biden announced large employers had to require employees to either get a COVID-19 vaccine or be subject to weekly testing. So can businesses with more than 100 employees actually be forced to follow this order?

Southern Illinois University Law Professor Cheryl Anderson said there could be some legal room to launch a challenge. A possible argument could be that the government is not exhausting all its options.

"Are there alternative ways to address the danger posed by this virus other than mandating either a vaccination or the weekly testing," said Anderson.

However, there is a precedent for this mandate. OSHA, an agency that oversees workplace safety, will be enforcing the President's mandate. It's not the agency's first sweeping mandate.

"The Reagan Administration on 1983, used the same process to require employers to reduce asbestos exposure," said Anderson.

On top of that, public health defenses often win cases. Additionally, this mandate really is not a mandate, people have choices. Anderson said because there is a choice, judges could rule a weekly test would be enough of an alternative. The law professor expects it could take several weeks for the government to hammer out the new requirement.

25 News reached out to three of the area's largest employers to see if they would follow the President's order. Caterpillar, State Farm, and Country Financial did not respond to a request for comment.

Andy Weber

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