The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision invalidating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) vax-or-test mandate for certain businesses is the latest in a growing number of challenges to federal, state, and municipal workplace vaccination requirements. These suits have caused considerable confusion for employers, employees, and, where applicable, their unions. The varied dispositions—with most mandates upheld—often hinge on an agency’s enabling statute and the specific aspect of a mandate challenged.

This explains the recent pair of decisions issued by the Supreme Court, National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, 595 U.S. __ (2022), invalidating OSHA’s rule, and Biden v. Missouri, 595 U.S. __ (2022), upholding an analogous mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While the different results might seem puzzling at first, the Court’s reasoning, as discussed below, flowed from analysis of the statutory authority granted to the agencies, and not, as some are espousing, to a claimed constitutional right to be free from “coerced” inoculation.