OSHA COVID 19 Mandate Moves Forward; UPDATE: Mandate Heads to Supreme Court on Appeal

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

A federal appeals court panel recently lifted the stay on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID 19 Emergency Temporary Standard which set forth vaccine and testing requirements for private employers with 100 employees or more..


The 2-1 decision by a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overruled a decision by a federal judge in a separate court pausing the mandate nationwide. As a result, OSHA has posted new guidance stating that covered employers must now comply with the mandate by January 10, 2022. If an employer opts to permit employees to test in lieu of vaccination, then testing of unvaccinated employees must begin by February 9, 2022.


Since the ruling, the Supreme Court received at least 11 emergency applications challenging the Sixth Circuit’s decision. Unless there is a stay from the high court, these requirements will continue to move forward.


As many of you know, Ohio has been at the helm of a group of 27 states claiming that the OSHA mandate is unprecedented and that OSHA does not have the authority to enforce it. After the Sixth Circuit panel ruling, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost stated he will continue legal efforts to stop the OSHA mandate.


You can read more about the Sixth Circuit’s decision here. As a reminder, decisions on the OSHA mandate do not affect the CMS mandate, which remains stayed in 24 states, including Ohio.


UPDATE:


On December 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States issued orders granting review of legal challenges to OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard as well as the CMS Vaccine Mandate. The High Court also set an accelerated timeline for the cases, scheduling oral arguments in both cases on January 7, 2022.