Jan 14, 2022
Supreme Court Puts OSHA’s Vaccine/Testing Mandate on Hold
What happened: The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision preventing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing its new mandate for private sector firms with 100 or more employees to require COVID-19 vaccination or testing and masking.
Why it matters: The mandate, called an emergency temporary standard (ETS), had taken effect on Jan. 10, but now cannot be enforced while litigation proceeds. The Court’s majority criticized the ETS as a “blunt instrument” which “draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to COVID-19,” while also noting it is “telling that OSHA, in its half century of existence, has never before adopted a broad public health regulation of this kind – addressing a threat that is untethered, in any causal sense, from the workplace.” The Jan. 13 decision held that a stay of the rule was warranted because the parties challenging it were “likely to prevail” in their underlying litigation.
What’s next: In court filings, ARTBA and other groups contend the mandate exceeds OSHA’s authority. Litigation will now continue in the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati. While court proceedings move forward, employers will not have to comply with the ETS. ARTBA will continue to keep our membership updated, especially relating to the specific arguments we make on behalf of the transportation construction industry.