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Court Lifts Hold on OSHA Vaccine Policy; Testing Compliance Pushed to Feb. 9

Compliance Week

The legal delay affecting the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine rules for large employers has been lifted, with new guidance slightly extending compliance deadlines to allow room for businesses who temporarily paused their vaccine policy rollouts to redouble their efforts.

Following a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision Friday to lift a stay on the emergency temporary standard (ETS) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued in November, the agency updated its guidance and set new compliance deadlines.


Frederick “Gus” Sandstrom, partner with employment firm Blank Rome, said affected businesses are likely to respond to the latest news in two ways. One set of businesses is already far along the path of mandating vaccines for employees, having already created a policy which sets deadlines and targets for employees to be vaccinated or face possible disciplinary action—up to and including termination.

Another set of businesses, however, might operate in regions with high vaccine skepticism or is simply worried enforcing a vaccine mandate will lead to workers quitting at a time when filling job postings is difficult.

“Their view is that I can’t put this policy into effect unless I can point to OSHA and say, ‘They’re making us do this,’” Sandstrom said.

Even as employers with vaccine skeptics in their workforce play the waiting game, Sandstrom said, they should consider taking these three steps in the interim.

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“Court Lifts Hold on OSHA Vaccine Policy; Testing Compliance Pushed to Feb. 9,” by Aaron Nicodemus was published in Compliance Week on December 20, 2021.