The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked OSHA’s emergency temporary standard mandating that businesses with at least 100 employees must require workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear masks and undergo weekly testing. But in a partial victory for the government, it upheld the requirement for COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category,” says the opinion.
Separately, in upholding the health care worker mandate, the court said, “Healthcare workers around the country are ordinarily required to be vaccinated for diseases such as hepatitis B, influenza, and measles, mumps, and rubella.” Therefore, continued the court, “We accordingly conclude that the Secretary did not exceed his statutory authority in requiring that, in order to remain eligible for Medicare and Medicaid dollars, the facilities covered by the interim rule must ensure that their employees be vaccinated against COVID–19.”
Companies should consult health and legal authorities to make sure they are following the appropriate health and regulatory guidance for their situation.