Ascension Parish business owner files suit challenging vaccine mandate
An Ascension Parish business owner who operates 15 grocery stores joined a federal lawsuit to challenge the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for businesses.
Brandon Trosclair, a previous Republican candidate for the Louisiana House of Representatives, is well-known locally as the owner and operator of the original Ralph's Market on Hwy. 44 north of Gonzales, as well as the Ralph's Market on Hwy. 44 near Pelican Point and the two Butcher Boy stores in Donaldsonville and Plaquemine.
Over the summer, Trosclair purchased several stores in the New Orleans market. He and his family are second-generation grocers.
President Joe Biden announced that the federal government will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for companies with 100 or more employees, a move that prompted a challenge from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
The rule issued through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would require such companies' workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or get tested on a weekly basis.
According to a news release from the Liberty Justice Center, Trosclair employs nearly 500 people across the 15 stores in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Based on the new rule, Trosclair would be forced to fire any employees who decline the vaccine, the release stated.
The Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy assisted Trosclair with the petition, which was filed with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Trosclair joins six employees who work remotely from their homes in Texas for CaptiveAire Systems, which manufactures and services commercial kitchen ventilation systems and HVAC equipment. The mandate would apply to the remote workers also.
Daniel Suhr, managing attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, called the mandate "the most egregious government overreach in our generation."
"No matter how you feel about the COVID vaccine, every American should be outraged. Apparently, the Biden Administration’s COVID strategy is this: circumvent Congress, ignore the Constitution, then threaten and bully millions of Americans to get vaccinated against their will. It’s an assault on the U.S. Constitution, which the President has sworn to uphold," Suhr stated in the release.
Trosclair pointed out his employees have served their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes over the past 20 months.
"Now I’m being told by the government to insert myself into their private health decisions? That’s wrong and I won’t stand for it,” Trosclair stated in the release. “It is not the government’s place to tell me how to operate my stores or to force me to interfere in the private medical decisions of my employees.”
He added that his stores have been facing a shortage of full-time employees. He anticipated it would become more difficult to hire and maintain workers with the new OSHA rule in place.