employee receiving Covid vaccine

OSHA Suspends Enforcement of New Employer COVID Vaccine Rule

There’s no doubt that how employers choose to deal with whether to require the COVID vaccination of their employees has been widely contested. The Labor Department’s Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced the suspension of its enforcement of the newer Biden administration’s order concerning larger employers to require the COVID vaccination or undergo weekly testing. 

OSHA Required to Stop Enforcement of Rule

While a federal appeals court reaffirmed the Biden administration’s vaccine rule, the agency ordered OSHA to stop the implementation and enforcement of the new regulation. OSHA commented on the situation by posting an announcement on its website stating that it “remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies.” 

It’s unclear as to whether the regulation will ultimately stay; the case is headed to the Sixth Circuit Court in Ohio, which is known for its republican-appointed judges. This has left businesses with a great amount of uncertainty as to what will be expected of them. The original plan required employers with more than 100 employees to choose by December 5th whether to require their workers to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.  Then, by January 4th, businesses would be required to implement their decision. 

Move Forward in Compliance or Risk Hefty Penalties

As a result of the short timeline, many businesses are continuing to move forward in compliance with the new regulation in order to remain in compliance should the regulation be upheld.  There has been a “stay” placed on the law. Essentially there is a temporary pause on the regulation and the decision of whether or not to push “play” again will be determined by the upcoming appeal.

It’s likely that the ruling will come down before the original January 4th deadline. This means that employers will want to be ready to comply with whatever decision is made, either way.

The situation is concerning considering that companies that fail to comply with the order could end up paying nearly $14,000 per employee not in compliance with the rule. Those businesses that are found to be in “willful violation” of the requirements could even face $136,000 fines. 

There is a good possibility that this could end up before the Supreme Court before a final decision is made. 

The IL Employment Law Attorneys at ST Legal Group Can Help

If you have been terminated from your job and believe that it is because of an illegal reason (a state-protected reason or a reason related to you belonging to a protected class of people), you should be able to remedy the situation through monetary compensation and/or reinstatement to your position. A knowledgeable and experienced Illinois employment law attorney can help you to fight for what you deserve. The qualified attorneys at ST Legal Group can help to protect your employment rights. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!