This past Friday, December 17th, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals removed the stay, or "pause" to OSHA's implementation of private company/employer (100+ employee) COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements (commonly referred to as the "ETS").
In a 2 to 1 decision, the Court agreed with OSHA that the ETS is necessary to protect workers from COVID-19, and that a “grave danger” is present as a result of COVID-19. The Sixth Court also disagreed with the earlier Court's conclusion that OSHA had overstepped its regulatory power, (meaning that OSHA was establishing health policy under the ETS, instead of addressing safety concerns in the workplace).
Following the decision, on Saturday, December 18th, OSHA issued the following statement:
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.
Pending litigation and cases regarding COVID-19 requirements may be consolidated through the appeals process, and collectively considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, who would determine final applicability/legality on a number of COVID-19 requirements, in the coming weeks.
In the interim, GPI strongly encourages all members to review information and timelines for outlined vaccine and testing requirements. We will continue to provide updated information, alongside any changes in requirements, as known. An OSHA-issued fact sheet and FAQ summary of the ETS may be viewed here. As always, GPI encourages member companies to confer with their company's EHS and/or legal counsel to review compliance and any other potential obligations and requirements.