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January 7 Date Set For U.S. Supreme Court Arguments On OSHA And Healthcare Workers Vaccine Mandates

In a rare move right before the holidays, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments at a special session on January 7, 2022, regarding two federal vaccine mandates: OSHA’s vaccinate-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) for employers with 100+ employees and the vaccine mandate for healthcare facilities.

As noted in our previous Alert, the Sixth Circuit recently lifted the stay which held up the implementation of OSHA’s ETS, pending further review. OSHA wasted no time issuing a statement informing employers of its intent to move forward with implementation under new deadlines. OSHA advised that employers have until January 10 to comply with most of the ETS requirements and until February 9 to comply with the vaccination and testing requirements. These recent developments prompted challengers to the OSHA guidelines to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay of the ETS.

The vaccine mandate for healthcare facilities is on a different legal track and is currently blocked in twenty-five (25) states, including Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and several other surrounding states.

Although the Supreme Court might issue an emergency stay of the ETS before the January 10 deadline (or OSHA might extend the deadline for issuing citations past January 10), employers subject to the mandate should continue preparing COVID-19 programs and take other steps to demonstrate their good faith efforts toward compliance.

McGrath North’s Labor and Employment Group will continue to monitor the legal challenges and keep you updated regarding significant developments.