SCOTUS Issues Vaccine Mandate DecisionsJanuary 13, 2022
Learn about the Supreme Court's ruling on COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates for large businesses and health care workers.
At a Glance
- On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court for the United States (SCOTUS) issued an order blocking the OSHA private employer emergency temporary standard (ETS) on vaccine or test mandates from being enforced.
- In a separate ruling, the SCOTUS lifted the stays issued by the lower courts blocking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandate in certain states, the CMS vaccine mandate can now be enforced nationwide while the litigation proceeds in those lower courts.
On January 7, 2022, the Supreme Court for the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in two different cases challenging two different vaccine mandates, the OSHA Vaccine or Test Mandate for private employers and the CMS Vaccine Mandate for certain health care workers.
The Court’s decision blocks the OHSA ETS from being enforced pending a decision from the 6th Circuit. Even though the case will go back to the 6th Circuit for a decision on the enforceability of the ETS, it’s unlikely the SCOTUS would uphold a decision by the 6th, finding the ETS valid.
It is unclear at this time if OSHA will issue a revised ETS or if individual states will enact similar rules. Employers appear able to enact their own vaccination and/or testing policies provided they are legal under state law.
CMS Vaccine Mandate on Health Care Workers
The Court’s decision to lift the stays blocking the CMS vaccine mandate for certain health care workers means the requirements under this mandate are now enforceable nationwide while the lower cases continue their review of the enforceability of the mandate.
Employers that were subject to the OSHA mandate are no longer obligated to meet the requirements. Employers looking at implementing their own vaccination and/or testing policy are encouraged to work with their legal counsel to develop a policy that is consistent with any applicable laws. Employers subject to the CMS mandate should begin taking the steps to implement the rule’s requirements.
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