On Thursday, January 13th, the Supreme Court ruled that COVID-19 is not an occupational hazard in most workplaces. After hearing oral arguments last week, it was decided that even though COVID is a risk that can occur in many workplaces, it’s not an occupational hazard in most. It spreads in schools, home, at sporting events and in many other places people gather and is similar to the risk people face daily from crime, air pollution and communicable diseases.
Health care workers must be vaccinated
It’s another story however, for their ruling regarding health care workers. Institutions that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding will require all health care workers to be vaccinated unless they have a religious or medical exemption.
Court absolved 84 million Americans from vaccinate or test mandate
Staffing firms and all employers with 100 or more employees have cause to be pleased to avoid yet another barricade to hiring employees. The Court absolved employers of the requirement of having to ensure that unvaccinated employees have to be tested on a weekly basis at their own expense or be vaccinated.
It was determined that 84 million Americans having to be vaccinated or tested weekly was not within OSHA’s power to exercise and that COVID is a universal risk rather than a risk specific across all workplaces.
Three justices issued an opinion that “the ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard) was unlawful as a Major Question that the constitution left to Congress to decide. The concurrence thereby focuses on the constitutionality of the ETS, rather than its permissibility under the OSH Act. If this reasoning makes its way into the decision on the merits, it may be used to invalidate other OSHA standards and federal agency decisions.”
What does this mean for employers?
What does this mean for employers? The ETS is set to expire in May 2022 and it’s not clear whether it will ever become a law and will be enforced again. Employers are still regulated to address COVID-19 hazards in the workplace and OSHA has cited many companies for record keeping and respiratory regulations. “Employers should be mindful that they are still required to abate COVID-19 hazards and can look to CDC and OSHA guidance” according to Seyfarth, a legal services company.
Here is the link to OSHA’s Covid-19 resource page which includes OSHA requirements, guidance, highlights, and tools. And here is the link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Covid-19 page.
Visit COATS Staffing Software to assist with operating procedures and online paperwork. With a full front and back office software created specifically for the staffing industry, COATS covers all aspects of hiring and placement regulations.