In a 6-3 decision on January 13th, the Supreme Court voted to block the OSHA ETS that would have required businesses with 100 or more employees to implement systems by early February to either ensure the vaccination status of employees or require weekly testing for COVID-19 (vaccine status was to be determined starting January 10th, 2022).
The decision left many employers and employees alike wondering what comes next. There are still many state, local and industry level rules and recommendations employers must consider. Many private companies have already adopted internal policies regarding vaccinations and testing, some that align with the intended policies of the ETS. In addition, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) was granted the ability to require COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers at providers and suppliers.
In the coming months, OSHA may consider a permanent vaccine-or-testing requirement, as the original ETS was only intended to be in place for 6 months as a temporary solution. The agency can expect similar efforts to overturn further initiatives, and was recently seeking comments and input on a more permanent proposal.
For now, though, the ruling means employers who previously made plans to ensure compliance with the “vaccine or test” mandate will not be tasked with requiring such measures.