Supreme Court to hear oral arguments on OSHA and CMS vaccine mandates on January 7
On Wednesday December 22, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court fast-tracked challenges to two federal vaccine mandates, and said it would hear oral arguments on the OSHA vax-or-test mandate for large employers and the CMS vaccine mandate for healthcare workers on Friday January 7, 2022. Until January 7, all lower court rulings remain in effect.
OSHA’s current compliance deadlines for its mandate are January 10 and February 9, 2022. This means that by January 10, employers must, at a minimum, determine the vaccination status of each employee and maintain those records, implement a written vaccination or vax-or-test policy, require unvaccinated employees to wear face coverings, provide the required paid time off for vaccination, inform employees about the ETS requirements, and require each employee to promptly notify employers when COVID-19-positive. Employers should also be determining how to comply with the required weekly testing of unvaccinated employees.
As for the CMS mandate, it is currently stayed in about half of the states (including Oklahoma).
On January 7, SCOTUS will determine whether the government should be able to enforce the federal vaccine mandates while the underlying litigation challenging them is still ongoing. SCOTUS’s decision on the status of these stays should be telling for how the justices would ultimately decide these cases on the merits. Employers should be prepared to comply with OSHA’s compliance deadlines, while awaiting further news from SCOTUS.
Should you have any questions or need any help with putting together compliant policies, processes, and communication templates, please contact the McAfee & Taft attorney with whom you work or any member of our Labor and Employment Group.