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Supreme Court Puts Skids on OSHA Vaccine Mandate

In a decision released this afternoon, the Supreme Court put a halt to the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard that requires employers with 100 or more employees to implement a mandatory vaccine policy, under which employees must either be vaccinated for COVID or undergo weekly testing at their own expense, on their own time, or be removed from the workplace.

Ruling on the petitions to stay the mandate, Justice Kavanaugh noted that the vast scope of the mandate addressed a matter of public health, not employment and occupational health, which is the limit of OSHA’s authority. He noted that the vaccine mandate involved a significant encroachment into the lives and health of employees, which followed them out of the workplace. Simply stated, OSHA has the power to regulate occupational dangers, not public health.

Justices Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito concurred, with Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan dissenting. Implementation of the mandate is now stayed pending further review by the Sixth Circuit and any future disposition of the issue by the Court. What this means is that the issue is still not completely resolved, but employers no longer face the choice of implementing the mandate or risk huge fines from OSHA.  Stay tuned.

If you have any questions about the ETS, OSHA’s vaccine mandate, the Supreme Court’s decision or other issues related to mandatory vaccination policies, feel free to contact Wessels Sherman attorney Alan Seneczko at alseneczko@wesselssherman.com or (262) 560-9696.

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