As we predicted, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling blocking the enforcement of federal OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccinate-or-testing mandates for large employers. A copy of the ruling is here. In short, the Court has determined that the federal OSHA rules are illegal as they exceed the scope of powers that Congress delegated (granted) to OSHA.
Practically, today’s decision means that federal OHSA’s vaccinate-or-testing mandate is dead for now and that employers need not worry about the rule’s compliance deadlines. However, healthcare employers are not affected by this ruling.
Critically, however, today’s ruling does not invalidate any state (or local) vaccinate-or-testing (or mask) mandates or any other COVID-19 regulation issued by a state (or local) agency or government. Notably, California employers must continue to be mindful of their obligations under Cal/OSHA ETS rules—including, for example, those rules concerning testing, return-to-work criteria, exclusion pay, and notification. In addition, California employers should be aware that the State of California could independently impose a vaccinate-or-testing mandate akin to the one the Supreme Court struck down today.
So, while COVID-19 rules and regulations are fluid and evolving, an employer’s duty to protect workers from the threat of COVID-19 remains the same. Employers should not assume that today’s Supreme Court decision says otherwise.
We will continue to update you on related developments.
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