The U.S. Supreme Court today blocked Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) emergency temporary standard requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to ensure workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear masks and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The Court, however, allowed the federal government through CMS to require COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers. The court noted in the second case that "health care workers around the country are ordinarily required to be vaccinated for diseases."
The justices did not rule on the actual validity of either the OSHA or the CMS rule. Rather, the Supreme Court accepted the cases to review whether the temporary injunctions that had been issued to block the rules were properly put into place. The cases will now be sent back to the lower courts to decide whether to permanently block or uphold the vaccine directives.
Employers that are covered by the CMS health care directive should note that the compliance dates have been extended. Workers must receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by January 27 and be fully vaccinated by February 26. Additionally, employers must track employees' vaccination statuses and develop vaccination policies that include medical and religious exemptions and accommodations.
Stay tuned for further developments.
John Falcone and Luke Malloy handle employment law matters at PLDR Law. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.