By Sara J. Ackermann
December 18, 2021
This week I was talking to Bob, a local HR professional (you know who you are), and he asked, “So Sara, what are the chances we are going to get a ruling on this OSHA mandate before the holidays?” to which I replied, “Highly unlikely…I would be shocked if anything happens before the holidays—but I am sure if it is reinstated, OSHA will give employers a break on compliance.” Well, I was half-right.
Last night, the Sixth Circuit reinstated the OSHA vaccine mandate. The parties who brought the initial suit have already appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But in the meantime, covered employers need to comply. The good news is that the DOL has given employers until January 10th to comply with the mandate—and so long as the employer is exercising good faith, OSHA will not issue citations until February 9 for failure to comply with the testing requirement. This morning the DOL issued this statement regarding enforcement of the mandate:
OSHA is gratified the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. OSHA can now once again implement this vital workplace health standard, which will protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace.
To account for any uncertainty created by the stay, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion with respect to the compliance dates of the ETS. To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard. OSHA will work closely with the regulated community to provide compliance assistance.”
As always, call us with questions or if you need legal advice tailored to your business!
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