The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) within the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for implementing the proposed new rules, which will mandate all employees be either vaccinated against Covid-19 or subject to weekly tests. Employers will be required to provide paid time off for workers to get the vaccine and/or recover from any vaccine side effects. The Biden administration has threatened monetary penalties of up to $14,000 per violation of each ETS.
OSHA possesses the regulatory authority to promulgate and issue Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), which are legally effective for only six (6) months and need not meet the normal notice-and-comment procedures that OSHA regulations usually require. OSHA has rarely issued ETS because the last time OSHA did in 1983, a federal court ruled against the Administration and struck down the ETS.
Critics of the proposed mandate are prepared to pursue legal challenges to prevent OSHA from promulgating and implementing any ETS to implement the proposed mandate. The proposed mandate will have no effect on employers who currently require employee vaccinations in order to work. Still, the mandate could seriously affect many employers who have left the decision to their employees.
Questions about whether to implement a COVID-19 related vaccination or leave of absence policy? Please contact us at (216) 573-6000 to speak to an attorney in our labor and employment practice group.
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