The vaccine mandate is “on.” I previously wrote about the federal court’s stay of the vaccine mandate for companies with 100+ employees. On December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the stay was no longer effective – and that the federal government can therefore begin enforcing the vaccine mandate. What does this mean for employers?
- Deadlines are forthcoming (although delayed/changed). The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the arm of the Department of Labor charged with enforcing the mandate, announced that employers will now have until January 10, 2022, to ensure that all individuals are vaccinated – and February 9, 2022, to comply with the weekly testing requirement. Organizations that delayed organizing compliance should start/restart now as the deadlines will come quickly given the holidays.
- The federal contractor mandate is still “paused.” The Sixth Circuit’s decision did not reinstate the federal contractor mandate imposed currently stayed by a federal court in Georgia. That being said, the substance of that particular legal dispute does not preclude federal contractors from requiring vaccines (as it only challenges whether the federal government itself can mandate the vaccine).
- There seems to be judicial support behind the public welfare associated with vaccines. For some employees, being compelled to vaccinate runs contrary to their perceptions of individual liberties. The Sixth Circuit’s decision focused on the science associated with reducing risk and transmission – or the “public welfare.” It is anticipated that the question of whether the “public welfare” argument will hold water will ultimately be a decision for the Supreme Court of the United States (if they opt to weigh in).
Feel free to reach out to me to discuss the 100+ employee vaccine mandate or federal contractor mandate.
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Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.
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