Vaccine Requirements Land In Employers’ Hands

by | Jan 27, 2022 | Federal, Healthcare, Legal, OSHA

The year 2022 kicked off with a muddled mess on the Covid-19 front for workplace regulations. The bad news is that Omicron is still with us, but there’s some newfound clarity on Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate. That unprecedented move already saw challenges from at least a dozen states, the Senate, and federal courts. Here’s where the issue now stands:

  • The Supreme Court blocked Biden’s mandate, which had instructed large employers to require workers to be vaccinated or regularly tested. However, healthcare facilities that receive federal dollars must still require the jab.
  • OSHA (through which Biden previously drew emergency authority) followed suit this week by announcing the withdrawal of the mandate. The agency will refocus resources from the business mandate to creating rules for protecting healthcare workers.
  • National Nurses United responded to OSHA’s move with a request for a federal court to push emergency rules into place. This followed healthcare-worker unions asking the Biden administration to go further than requiring vaccination with additional safety requirements and more paid leave for healthcare workers. Although those requests appear to be on hold for now, it’s difficult to imagine how this industry on the brink could find any extra wiggle room as the pandemic continues.
  • Outside of healthcare, businesses offered mixed reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision. Many celebrated the ruling that companies can make the call on how to balance vaccination rules and business needs. Other companies lamented the pivot from hardline rules for protecting public-facing workers.

In other words, we’re over two years into this pandemic, and it’s all coming down to employers making the call on what’s best for their workplaces while issuing their own rules as they see fit under existing U.S. law.

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