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Sixth Circuit Court Reinstates OSHA’s COVID Vaccine ETS

By December 20, 2021December 28th, 2021Human Resources

by the HR team at East Coast Risk Management

It’s baaaack!   Late Friday evening, December 17, a three-judge panel from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio “dissolved” the stay that was keeping OSHA from enforcing its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). As we detailed in previous blog articles, the ETS requires private employers with 100 or more employees to enforce a vaccine-or-test mandate relating to COVID-19.

Though the legal challenges continue with a petition to the United States Supreme Court, right now the ETS is back on and effective immediately. As predicted, however, the deadlines to comply with the ETS have been extended. To clarify, OSHA posted this statement on their ETS webpage:

“To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard. OSHA will work closely with the regulated community to provide compliance assistance.”

This means that covered employers must determine the vaccination status of all employees and enforce the masking requirement for unvaccinated employees by January 9th.  For any employee that remains unvaccinated by February 8th, employers must follow the COVID testing mandate of the ETS.

Since these deadlines are tight and we don’t expect the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the appeal from the Sixth Circuit before then, covered employers should be prepared to comply with the ETS immediately.

Our HR Team has prepared a toolkit to help covered employers comply with the ETS.  Our toolkit has all of the policies and forms needed to comply.  If you would like information about our toolkit, please contact our HR Team by calling 724-864-8745 or emailing us at We will be happy to help!

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