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Tampa Christian school represented by advocacy group suing over OSHA vaccine requirement

The Alliance Defending Freedom contends the Biden administration cannot "coerce" people to undergo medical treatment.

TAMPA, Fla. — A Christian advocacy group announced it's joining the state of Florida in suing over new Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules for large companies to have workers vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing by Jan. 4.

Lawyers with the Alliance Defending Freedom will represent Cambridge Christian School in Tampa and The King's Academy in West Palm Beach in the lawsuit announced Thursday by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to a news release.

The governor advised other plaintiffs would join the suit filed jointly with the states of Alabama and Georgia, and the religious group appears to be among the first.

It argues President Joe Biden's administration has no legal authority to issue an employer mandate and cannot "coerce" people to undergo medical treatment. While announcing the lawsuit Thursday, both the governor and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody consider the rules as an infringement on people's personal freedoms 

"This is not anti-vaccine," Moody said. "This is pro-freedom."

Alliance Defending Freedom says the lawsuit takes no position on COVID-19 vaccines or whether someone should take one.

"The Biden administration’s decision to mandate vaccines through an emergency standard issued by OSHA is unlawful, invades upon the autonomy of these religious institutions, and compels employers like our clients to intrude on their employees’ personal health decisions," ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker said in a statement, in part.

Republican state officials across the country have taken aim at the OSHA's COVID requirement, with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson calling it "garbage" and "unconstitutional," according to The Associated Press. The news organization reports the Biden administration contends that it has the authority to take actions designed to protect workers and expects the rule to withstand legal challenges.

Other entities suing over the rule include at least 12 other states, conservative outlet The Daily Wire and private companies.

CBS News reports that, in some cases, religious or medical exemptions to the OHSA requirement can be given.

"Some employees will be requesting exemptions for medical accommodations. There may be some with medical contra-indications" while others may have religious beliefs that prompt them to ask for an exemption, said Jim Frederick, the deputy assistant secretary of labor at OSHA. "The [mandate] does account for that."

Frederick on a conference call said that OSHA estimates the rule will save thousands of lives and prevent more than 250,000 COVID-related hospitalizations, CBS News reports.

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