Announcement follows court order granting stay of the emergency temporary standard that was scheduled to take effect in December.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on its website that it would “take no steps to implement or enforce” until it receives further court orders due to pending rulings in Federal Court on the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) announced November 5 requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing at private employers with 100 or more employees.
On November 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. More than two dozen cases have been filed in Federal Courts across the U.S. seeking to block the enforcement of OSHA’s requirement alleging the agency exceeded its statutory authority and other reasons.
On Tuesday, the lawsuits were consolidated by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation and sent after a lottery to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
In the notice posted on the ETS information page on the OSHA website, the regulator continued, “While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”
The ETS requirements for employers to mandate the vaccine and provide time off to do so were to go into effect December 6, 30 days after the standard was published. The testing mandate for unvaccinated workers was scheduled to go into effect on January 4.
It is expected that additional court rulings on the ETS are likely between now and January, possibly even from the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the meantime, some employment law experts caution employers covered by the standard should prepare in the event the mandate eventually goes into effect.