13 Jan SCOTUS BLOCKS FEDERAL VACCINE MANDATE
After a long road of legal challenges and in a much-anticipated ruling, moments ago, the United States Supreme Court blocked the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.
In the final blow to the sweeping requirements set to impact over 80 million workers across the nation and their employers, SCOTUS found that the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exceeded the power given to them by Congress. This means that the requirements for employers with 100+ employees to implement policies that required employees to receive the COVID vaccine or wear masks and test weekly is dead in the water.
“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,” the court’s majority said. “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.”
Further, the court ruled that OSHA lacked the authority to impose such a mandate because the law that created OSHA “empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.”
“Although COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most,” the Court ruled. “COVID–19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather. That kind of universal risk is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases.”
Alongside the ruling on the OSHA ETS case, the U.S. Supreme Court will allow a portion of the CMS mandate impacting an estimated 10 million health care workers to be enforced. The allowable portion of the CMS mandate requires vaccinations for health care workers who treat Medicare and Medicaid patients at facilities that receive federal funding.
In this ruling, the Court noted that “healthcare facilities that wish to participate in Medicare and Medicaid have always been obligated to satisfy a host of conditions that address the safe and effective provision of healthcare, not simply sound accounting.”
Please check back with us as we work to source additional information and resources, particularly next steps for employers who may have already implemented requirements for their workforce, and taking the necessary steps to ensure you continue to meet your state requirements in your workplace.