Updated Jan 13, 2022 – The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday ruled against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers following a hearing last Friday yet ruled to keep a mandate in place for most health care workers.
In its ruling in National Federation of Independent Business, et al. v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al., the court granted the applications to stay the OSHA rule mandating that employers with at least 100 employees require covered workers to receive a COVID–19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing.
In Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States, et al. v. Missouri, et al., the court ruled the government’s vaccine mandate for workers at federally funded health care facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid can take effect.
January 4, 2022 – SHORTLINER
High Court to Rule on Vax-or-Test Order
The Supreme Court will decide if elements of the White House plan to mandate vaccinations or regular COVID testing in some workplaces will stand.
The court will hold a hearing this Friday (Jan. 7) to review numerous legal challenges against two of the vaccine mandates.
President Biden earlier this year ordered OSHA to impose an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure all workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or mask in the workplace and submit to regular testing.
Also being considered at the hearing will be a mandate addressing health care facilities that employ workers paid through Medicare and Medicaid programs.
A mandate requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to assure workers are vaccinated is not included on the agenda of the Supreme Court hearing, but enforcement of that order remains blocked by a preliminary injunction.
Among opponents of the mandates are 27 state attorneys general and governors, business and religious coalitions, and national industry associations such as the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Associations and the National Federation of Independent Business.
At least until the hearing, the mandates are in effect. It is possible that justices will decide then to stay the orders until they issue a decision.
In the meantime, states that operate OSHA-approved workplace safety programs must by Friday notify the federal OSHA organization how they will proceed with the ETS. The deadline to begin enforcement is January 24.
In remaining states, OSHA will move to implement the ETS.
Employers with more than 100 employees are encouraged to monitor legal developments, review and update COVID-19 protocols related to vaccines and testing, communicate with employees, and decide how to best implement testing for the unvaccinated.
Sources: EHS Today, Pioneer Equipment Dealers Association