On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision blocking OSHA from implementing the COVID-19 Vaccination or Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (the “ETS”) until a determination is issued on the legal challenges to the ETS. The ETS requires employers with 100 or more employees to require employees to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. In support of its decision to block the ETS, the Supreme Court stated that the legal challenges to the OSHA’s authority to impose the requirements contained in the ETS are likely to succeed.
In a separate decision issued today, the Supreme Court upheld the Biden Administration’s mandate that health care workers must be vaccinated to work at medical facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding. The requirement does not have a daily or weekly testing option for unvaccinated workers, but does permit exemptions for individuals who cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19 for religious and disability-related reasons. The Court held that the Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to issue such a mandate because federal law allows DHHS to impose conditions on Medicaid and Medicare funds.