The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard requires employers with 100 or more employees to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.  -  Photo: Department of Defense by Lisa Ferdinando

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard requires employers with 100 or more employees to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Photo: Department of Defense by Lisa Ferdinando

The American Trucking Associations is one of several groups appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, which requires employers with 100 or more employees to enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

On Dec. 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lifted the Fifth Circuit’s November stay of OSHA’s ETS. The Supreme Court Monday said it has received several emergency appeals asking Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has jurisdiction over the appeals court that made the ruling, to freeze the rule. He is likely to refer the matter to the full court, according to CNN. A response from the Biden administration is due by Dec. 30.

The ETS, announced in early November, requires employers with 100 or more employees to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. It has an an exception for employers that establish, implement, and enforce a policy allowing employees who are not fully vaccinated to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at the workplace.

Trucking and other groups quickly filed lawsuits challenging the mandate.

Larger fleets are worried that drivers who do not wish to be vaccinated will leave for smaller companies not subject to the mandate, as well as concerned about the difficulties in getting a far-flung mobile workforce in for vaccines or regular testing.

Now that an appeals court has reinstated the rule, OSHA officials announced actions giving companies more time to comply. It said the agency will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the rule before Jan. 10, 2022. OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with the testing requirements before Feb. 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance.

OSHA also said it will provide compliance assistance.

“ATA will not stop fighting this misguided policy until our members and industry are fully relieved from its harmful impact on our ability to keep America’s supply chain moving,” ATA officials said in a statement.

The administration has other vaccine mandates that are being challenged in court, noted Courthouse News. So far, the court has turned down relief for workers seeking religious exemptions. Last week the Fifth Circuit overturned an injunction on a vaccine mandate for health care workers in federally funded facilities. 

Read more about OSHA's ETS here.

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