On Thursday afternoon, January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), after hearing oral arguments last week, issued rulings concerning the following Federal vaccination mandates:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) pertaining to private employers with over 100 employees; and
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) emergency rule (Emergency Rule) requiring COVID-19 vaccination of healthcare workers in facilities receiving funding from Medicare or Medicaid.
OSHA ETS (Private Employers)
By way of background, the mandate required workers at businesses with 100 or more employees get vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test weekly to enter the workplace.
On Thursday, SCOTUS determined that OSHA lacked the authority to impose the vaccination mandate on private employers. Specifically, SCOTUS determined that the OSH Act only allows the agency to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures and sent it back to the 6th Circuit Court. Because this is being sent back to the 6th Circuit, employers will need to continue monitoring any legal developments on vaccination mandates. We will also continue to monitor and send any pertinent information as it develops.
CMS Healthcare Mandate (Specific Healthcare Workers & Facilities)
On January 13, 2022, SCOTUS also issued a ruling that dissolves the several temporary injunctions blocking enforcement of the Emergency Rule. The Emergency Rule initially required all healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments, such as nursing homes and hospitals, to have all eligible staff fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.
The Emergency Rule was issued on November 5, 2021, along with frequently asked questions (FAQs) that were subsequently updated on December 28, 2021. The FAQs for healthcare workers can be found here. CMS issued a statement on January 13, 2022, in response to SCOTUS’ decision on the vaccine requirements that the decision will enable CMS to fully implement their rule (CMS Response).
Company – Imposed Vaccine Mandates
Barring state laws prohibiting COVID-19 vaccination mandates, an employer still has the option of requiring COVID-19 vaccination for its workforce. Please reference our previous email regarding setting up policies and procedures for your organization. Also, information about vendors that can assist in tracking vaccination status and testing can be found below.