With a judgment of 13 January 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States confirmed the temporary suspension the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) vaccine or test-mandate for employers with at least 100 employees.
According to the Court, the legislation regulating OSHA’s powers and mandate only authorizes the Administrative Agency to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures like the one challenged in the case at hand. While COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces – the Court said – it does not qualify as an occupational hazard subject to the regulatory power of OSHA, but rather as a universal risk or a “hazard of daily life”. Accordingly, the vaccine or test-mandate falls outside of the scope of OSHA’s authority. Justices Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito joined with a concurring opinion, while Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan issued a dissenting opinion. This judgment settled the conflict between the decisions issued by the Fifth Circuit and the Sixth Circuit Courts, which have been the subject matter of the news published on 27 December 2021. On the same date, the Supreme Court issued a different judgment regarding vaccine mandate for Healthcare workers. This ruling will be the subject matter of a forthcoming news.