(c) 2010-2023 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Appellate Court Upholds the Biden Administration Vaccine Mandate for Florida Health Care Workers

Over the last several months, the Biden ministration has targeted over 100 million workers for mandatory vaccination or, in the alternative regular Covid testing. The three groups are Federal contractors, Health Care Workers, and companies employing 100 or more workers [OSHA Temporary Emergency Standard].

Health Care Workers

The latest ruling emerging from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on December 6, 2021, affirmed a lower court ruling favoring the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in Florida. This ruling conflicts with a Federal Court ruling in Louisiana a restraining order. Are US District Court in Louisiana subsequently expanded the restraining order to cover all healthcare workers nationwide.  

The State of Florida Opposes Mandate

In this case, the State of Florida sued to restrain the US Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] from enforcing an intra-ruling of November 7, 2021. HHS mandated that required facilities that provide healthcare to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to ensure that their staff, unless exempt for medical or religious reasons, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The team must be fully immunized by January 4, 2022.

Florida was denied an injunction to restrain the enforcement of the ruling by a US District Court in Florida. The State then appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  The appeal has been denied now.

The State of Florida enacted a statutory change indicating that all the employers, including the government, are barred from posing COVID-19 vaccination requirements on the employees. Employers who violated the statute were subject to fines ranging from $1000-$70,000 per violation. Fla. Stat. §§ 112.0441, 381.00317(4)(a).

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Vaccination Mandate

The Eleventh Circuit, in its decision, stated that Congress had charged the Secretary of HHS with ensuring that participating facilities protect the health and safety of their patients, and this included infectious diseases such as COVID. 42 C.F.R. § 483.80. The Court reasoned that Florida was a nonparty to the Louisiana action.

The Eleventh Circuit reasoned, “…the last thing patients seeking medical help (and their families and friends who love them) should have to endure is the infliction of a potentially deadly virus on them by those who are supposed to be taking care of them, when it could have been prevented by their caretakers’ obtaining of an FDA approved vaccination.”

Nationwide Injunction Imposed

On the other hand, the Missouri Federal Court lawsuit was brought by ten other States. The court granted a restraining order against the imposition of the vaccine mandate.  A US District Court in Louisiana subsequently expanded the restraining order to cover all healthcare workers nationwide.

US Supreme Court

An appeal to the US Supreme Court is anticipated.

State of Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 21-14098-JJ, (11 Cir.CA 2021), decided Dec. 6, 2021.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L.,  Appellate Court Upholds the Biden Administration Vaccine Mandate for Florida Healthcare Workers (Dec. 8, 2021),

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over 5 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation

Twitter: jongelman

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Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters