UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine-or Testing Mandate

in Employment Law, In The News, Home, Event
January 13, 2022

Today, the United States Supreme Court, in a 6 to 3 decision[1], granted another stay of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) Vaccine-or-Testing Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) that would have required employers with 100 or more employees to implement mandatory vaccine-or-testing standards for their workers. [2]

In deciding whether to grant the stay or not, the Court found that the applicants (the parties suing to stop the OSHA ETS implementation) are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Secretary of Labor lacked authority to impose the vaccine mandate. The Court reasoned that although the Secretary of Labor has the authority to set workplace safety standards, he does not have the authority to enact broad public health measures.

What does this mean for employers?
For now, the OSHA Vaccine-or-Testing ETS are not in effect. Therefore, California employers need only comply with Cal/OSHA’s current Emergency Temporary Standards for now. Cal/OSHA’s new ETS revisions go into effect tomorrow.

Looking forward:
The Supreme Court’s stay of the vaccine mandate is pending disposition of the consolidated cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Until we have a ruling from the Sixth Circuit, the OSHA ETS cannot be enforced. Stay tuned for updates on the outcome of these cases.

[1] Justices Steven Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan issued a dissenting opinion.[2] https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/21a244_hgci.pdf.
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