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US Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine Mandate for Large Employers

Written by Joe Peluso

BLOG_1920x1080_U.S. Supreme Court Stops Large Employer Vaccine Mandate, Upholds Mandate for Healthcare Workers_FULL

The United States Supreme Court has halted the OSHA vaccine-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for companies with 100 or more employees, but upheld a similar mandate for healthcare workers.

SCOTUS ruled 5-4 in favor of the latter, a rule which requires that most employees of most employers who receive Medicare or Medicaid funds, as well as certain non-employees who might come on site be vaccinated from COVID-19 by the end of February 2022.

As for the OSHA mandate, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against. However, the ruling was limited to whether the stay should be put back in place. The case now returns to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether the ETS is beyond OSHA’s authority. Based on the reasoning of the Supreme Court, which indicated that OSHA had overstepped its bounds by regulating public health generally rather than just occupational health, it seems unlikely that the ETS will be revived.

"It is instead a significant encroachment on the lives - and health - of a vast number of employees," the Court said.

Dissenting Justice Stephen Breyer said in his opinion that the decision "stymies the federal government's ability to counter the unparalleled threat that COVID-19 poses to our nation's workers."

Large employers (100+ EE's) should continue to comply with all other federal, state, and local requirements. This ruling only affects the OSHA ETS. If you’re in a state with an OSHA State Plan, you should continue to keep an eye out for state OSHA requirements.

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