Supreme Court leaves vax choice to employers.

To mandate COVID vaccinations for your employees or not? That decision is again back in the hands of most private employers after the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 blocked OSHA's federal vaccination-or-testing requirement for companies with 100+ employees.

In a 6-3 ruling, the high court said OSHA's emergency temporary standard was an overreach of its powers, noting that the agency is authorized to "set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures." Had the rule taken effect, it would have affected an estimated 84 million workers.

In a separate ruling, the court did allow a similar vaccine mandate that covers almost all health workers to take effect. That mandate covers medical settings from doctors' offices to nursing homes and hospitals.

What this means for employers

Even though this federal mandate has been shelved, the Supreme Court left the door open for OSHA to issue a more limited vax-or-test mandate for certain industries or jobs. Plus, OSHA says it will continue to hold employers accountable using existing rules, including the General Duty Clause that requires you to provide a work enviornment "free from recognized hazards"

Also, the court's decision leaves states free to regulate employers with regard to COVID and vaccines. And some states are stepping up and establishing their own vaccine-or-test mandates. Other states are blocking such mandates. For a state-by-state...

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