United State Supreme Court Blocks OSHA “Vaccine or Test” ETS, Keeps in Place Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers
A divided United States Supreme Court has blocked the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that would have required all employers with at least 100 employees to ensure that their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. The Court’s opinion states in part, “Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.” The 6-3 Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the 26 business groups and 27 Republican-led states that sued to challenge the OSHA ETS, saying it exceeded the workplace-safety agency’s authority.
In another split decision – this one 5-4 – the Court allowed to take effect the vaccine policy rolled out in November 2021 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which requires the COVID-19 vaccine for certain health care workers at hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments from the federal government.
Employers should consult with experienced human resources professionals and/or labor and employment counsel with questions regarding vaccine mandates. For MEA members, the Hotline and a Member Legal Services attorney are available to provide this assistance.
In addition, for more information, MEA Members may join our Weekly COVID-19 Webinar on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
*This Alert is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.