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First, the broad strokes. Just over a month ago, Biden directed the Department of Labor and OSHA to develop the details of a COVID vaccine mandate for all US companies with 100 or more employees.
It appears (but it is not certain) that this mandate will allow several escape hatches: medical and religious exemptions, and weekly testing as a substitute for vaccination.
If there are exemptions, we don’t know under what terms they’ll be permitted.
The Department of Labor has not yet issued the regulations framing and detailing this mandate.
Indeed, as the law firm Eckert Seamans states on its website: “The President did not give a deadline or timeframe for the New COVID ETS [Emergency Temporary Standard], but it is likely to take weeks or months to be issued. Though it is a simple directive on its face, there are complex issues that OSHA will have to work out in preparing the ETS. Moreover, even though it is an emergency standard, OSHA still must build a basis for meeting the statutory criteria for emergency standards, and that takes time.”
“Recall that in January the President directed OSHA to issue a COVID ETS…and he imposed a March 15 deadline for action on that. However, OSHA did not issue the First COVID ETS until June, and even then, it applied only to healthcare settings…”
“However, if the New COVID ETS toes the line the President has drawn, it will be considerably broader and certainly more heavy handed, so it is more likely to draw court challenges from employers and others who already are declaring their opposition to such a broad mandate—and that could mean further delay.”