COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Update: Supreme Court of the United States Blocks Enforcement of OSHA ETS

On January 13, 2022, in a six-three decision, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a stay on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The stay effectively blocks OSHA from enforcing the ETS and its requirements that private sector employers require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing of their employees, pending further litigation on the merits.

What does this mean for employers?

Private sector employers are no longer required to comply with the OSHA ETS and are no longer required to implement policies on vaccination or testing. However, both private and public sector employers in the state of Texas are subject to Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders and Texas law.

Also on January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a five-four decision decided not to stay enforcement of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Omnibus COVID-19 rule for Medicaid/Medicare participants.  Employers who participate in Medicaid and/or Medicare programs must comply with the rule by ensuring that all covered employees have their first vaccine by January 27, 2022.

This update does not apply to employers with federal contracts, including sub-contractors.  Such employers should be aware that President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 for federal contractors remains stayed nationwide. 

This summary was prepared by Lloyd Gosselink’s Employment Law Practice Group:  Sheila GladstoneSarah Glaser,  and Jessica Maynard.  If you would like more information, please contact Sheila at or 512.322.5863, Sarah at or 512.322.5881, or Jessica at or 512.322.5807.

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