It’s Back!

Federal vaccination mandates have been bounced around the courts but one just bounced back into our laps. A federal appeals court has reversed a previous block and the mandate for companies of 100 or more employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing is, once again, active. The new deadline is Monday, January 10, 2022.

We know many companies who originally thought they might be subject to the OSHA mandate have continued their efforts to track vaccination status among their employees. Here are additional items to consider:

Deadline: Although the deadline is 1/10/2022, Federal OSHA has said it will accept reasonable, good faith efforts to follow the regulations. However, we are still waiting for Cal/OSHA’s regs to come out and they may have a slightly different deadline. The deadline represents when you must institute weekly testing or when your employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious accommodation request.

Other vaccination rules or laws: It is assumed Federal OSHA will preempt any state law against vaccinations. However, in a state like California that follows Cal/OSHA rather than Federal OSHA, the state version will rule. Of course, any state version of OSHA is required to adopt regulations that are at least as strong as Federal OSHA so don’t expect any loopholes there.

Federal contractors: At this time, Federal contractors are still in a holding pattern but will likely be required to comply with this mandate until, or in addition to, the Federal contractors mandate.

Petitions and appeals are flying around so don’t expect this to be the last word. We are in another one of those wait-and-see periods related to COVID. Prepare for the mandates but sit on accommodation requests until we get more information. As a side note, don’t forget that all Californians are required to wear a mask when inside businesses or public venues until 1/16/2022. This was a one-month mandate by Governor Newsom to slow down the positive cases.

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