In a widely-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court this afternoon blocked the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard that would have required employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing and masking. Finding that the states, businesses and nonprofit organizations that challenged the rule were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim, the court temporarily stayed the rule. In doing so, the court determined that while COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an “occupational hazard” that can be regulated in this manner by OSHA. While this does not permanently end the dispute, it frees employers from the current compliance deadlines and signals that future implementation of the rule is unlikely.
In a separate ruling, the court allowed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ rule requiring vaccination of workers in most Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities to continue. A facility’s failure to comply may lead to monetary penalties, denial of payment for new admissions and ultimately termination of participation in the programs.
As always, contact a member of Warner’s Labor and Employment Practice Group with any questions on how these significant rulings impact your workplace.