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A recent barrage of federal injunctions has caused substantial confusion for employers who were preparing to comply with federal vaccine mandates, including mandates involving OSHA, CMS and federal contractors. As a result, many covered employers are re-evaluating their plans to take the following points into consideration:
- The federal injunctions stop the government from forcing certain covered employers to comply with specific mandates for the time being;
- The federal injunctions do not prohibit an employer from going forward with vaccination-related programs voluntarily if the employer decides that doing so is in the best interests of its business, and if the programs comply with any applicable state and local laws;
- If a covered employer would prefer not to go forward with a mandate-compliant program at this time that was impacted by an injunction, the employer can put its program on hold pending the outcome of the court cases and/or further action by the government to modify or withdraw the mandates; and
- If an employer puts a program on hold, it should still maintain reasonable policies and procedures to advance workplace safety, including appropriate policies and procedures relating to face coverings, distancing and disinfection.
More guidance is likely to become available from the courts and the federal agencies in the days and weeks to come. If you have questions about this or other Labor and Employment issues in the meantime, contact Brian Kelly
or another member of the Frantz Ward Labor and Employment Practice Group.