Update Regarding OSHA Vaccine Rules

Over the weekend the 5th Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals granted a stay of the vaccine mandate rules recently enacted by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”). As a result, the rules are on hold across the country while the litigation, which included petitions filed by attorney generals of several States, plays out.

The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS’) provided that private companies with at least 100 employees must ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or are tested weekly by January 4, 2022, or face federal fines. Since Michigan has adopted an OSHA-approved State plan (administered by MIOSHA), the ETS requiring employers to implement rules for vaccination or testing does not directly apply to employers in the State of Michigan. However, the rules included a requirement that States that have OSHA-approved State plans must adopt and enforce occupational safety and health standards that are at least as effective as OSHA’s requirements. Under the ETS, MIOSHA would be required to adopt rules at least as effective, i.e., mirroring or even more protective than the OSHA rules, within 30 days of last week’s release of the ETS.

While the 5th Circuit Court’s Order was not specific as to its geographic impact, the stay was granted in response to the Petitioners’ request for a nationwide stay of the rules. Thus, it appears that the stay applies across the entire United States and puts the requirement that MIOSHA establish rules for vaccination and testing on hold for now. Keller Thoma will continue to monitor the status of the OSHA rules and will provide an update of its application to Michigan public and private employers as it develops.

Categories: Case Alerts, KT