On Thursday, January 13th, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a lower court and stayed the OSHA vaccination rule on the ground that OSHA exceeded its statutory authority and therefore, the rule is unlawful. A copy of the opinion can be found here.
The OSHA rule at issue required employers with 100 or more employees, to “develop, implement, and enforce” a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. The Court reasoned that OSHA’s authority is limited to workplace hazards and contracting COVID-19 is not limited to the workplace – it can happen anywhere. The Court went on to state that OSHA does not lack authority to regulate occupation-specific risks related to COVID-19, such as rules relating to particularly crowded or cramped work environments.
In a related case, the Court did uphold a COVID-19 vaccination mandate issued by the federal Health & Human Services Secretary for healthcare workers in facilities that receive Medicaid and/or Medicare funds.