12.20.21 - 6th Circuit Reinstates OSHA’s Vaccinate or Test Mandate
On Friday evening, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated OSHA’s vaccinate or test requirement for companies with 100 or more employees. The rule, which went into effect on November 5, 2021, before being blocked by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on November 6th, required employers with 100 or more employees to verify employee vaccination status and ensure that employees who are not fully vaccinated are wearing masks in the workplace by December 5, 2021. Employers would have until January 4, 2022 to ensure that employees who are not fully vaccinated submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test each week.
The rule is now back in effect. To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance in light of the original stay of the rule, OSHA announced it will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10th and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9th, so long as an employer is exercising “reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.”
While it is likely the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately have the final word on the legality of the mandate, employers should be prepared to move into compliance by the January 10th and February 9th deadlines if they have not already done so.