OSHA suspended the vaccine mandate; a big win for employers after the U.S. Court of Appeals granted a motion to stay
Good news for employers! Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended the vaccine mandate pending future developments in the litigation. The announcement comes just a few days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay that found it likely to be struck down as unconstitutional. Predictably, there’s been a complete news blackout on the OSHA decision to suspend mandate implementation.
In an announcement on its website, OSHA wrote:
“On November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402) (“ETS”). The court ordered that OSHA “take no steps to implement or enforce” the ETS “until further court order.” While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”
It all started on November 4 when the Biden administration ordered U.S. companies to get all their employees fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022, or face a penalty as high as $136,532 for a willful violation.
The newly released rules were issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Labor Department. The rules apply to businesses with 100 or more employees. In a 490-page document, OSHA said:
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers (100 or more employees) from the risk of contracting COVID-19 by strongly encouraging vaccination. Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.”
According to the requirements, all unvaccinated workers must begin wearing masks by December 5 and provide a negative Covid test on a weekly basis after the January deadline.