The Supreme Court issued two opinions today in the highly-watched cases regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Addressing the nation-wide vaccine mandates issued by OSHA covering employers with 100 or more employees, the Court found that the mandate exceeded OSHA’s statutory authority. Specifically, the Court held that requiring vaccinations for all employees went far beyond addressing occupational hazards and regulating the health and safety of employees.
Why It Matters?
With the stay of the OSHA vaccine mandate upheld, covered employers are no longer under any compliance obligations previously imposed by the mandate. Employers should, however, be prepared for new potential obligations as it is presumed that the Biden Administration could pursue executive action to implement its vaccination goals. Similarly, states and local governments will likely continue to issue their own vaccine mandates targeting specific industries or locations such as food establishments.
What Should you Do?
In a second opinion, the Court denied the stay targeting the CMS vaccine mandate applicable to healthcare facilities that receive federal funding. The Court held that the unique and specific nature of healthcare facilities permitted this type of mandate and was within the applicable statutory authority of CMS. As a result of this decision, covered health care employers will need to abide by the CMS vaccine mandate and do so by the first compliance date of January 27, 2022. By that date covered employers are required to have developed and implemented policies and procedures addressing vaccinations and that all staff either: (a) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; (b) have a pending request for a qualifying exemption; (c) have been granted a request for a qualifying-exemption; or (d) Have identified as meriting a temporary delay as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional compliance deadlines will then follow.
HLS employment practice routinely assists employers in staying up to date and compliant with all COVID-related regulations and guidance.
Please feel free to contact Megan Knowlton Balne of Hyland Levin Shapiro’s employment practice group to answer any questions you may have.