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Court Won't Force OSHA to Issue Emergency Workplace COVID-19 Standards

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued against such a standard

On June 11, 2020, a federal appeals court declined June to force the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue temporary emergency workplace standards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (In re: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, No. 20-1158 (D.C. Cir. June 11, 2020)).

The AFL-CIO, a labor union organization, had requested an emergency standard on infectious diseases. The court said while OSHA is authorized to issue emergency standards if it determines that workers are in grave danger, it is entitled to "considerable deference."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business organization, argued against such a standard, arguing that the agency "reasonably decided that coupling OSHA's existing safety standards with flexible, industry-specific guidance informed by evolving scientific understanding" is enough to protect workers from the novel coronavirus.

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