February 9, 2022

By: Sarah K. Bloom Associate, and Gregory M. Wagner Associate, Watt, Tieder, Hoffar, & Fitzgerald, LLP.

Effective January 26, 2022, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) withdrew its Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) that would have required companies with at least 100 employees to implement certain COVID-19 safety standards in the workplace.  The ETS included a requirement that employees either receive COVID-19 vaccinations or undergo weekly testing. OSHA’s withdrawal follows the United States Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision imposing a temporary stay on the ETS.  See Nat’l Fed’n of Indep. Bus. v. Dep’t of Labor, 142 S. Ct. 661 (2022).

In its decision, the Supreme Court signaled that the ETS was unlikely to survive a challenge on the merits.  Thus, employers are no longer required to implement the safety standards set forth in the ETS.  State and local rules may impose separate requirements which are unaffected by the Supreme Court’s decision.  

The Supreme Court also has not addressed the constitutionality of the vaccination mandate that was imposed by executive order upon federal contractors, which is currently subject to a nationwide injunction.  The Supreme Court, however, did allow the Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccine mandate for healthcare workers to take effect.  See Biden v. Missouri, 142 S. Ct. 647 (2022).

Watt Tieder is one of the largest construction boutique law firms in the United States, with a diverse and experienced team of attorneys representing many of the world’s leading corporations, developers and contractors on both domestic and international projects. We represent more than half of the Top 30 Engineering News Record contractors and most of the nation’s top sureties. With offices in six cities in the United States, the firm is a dynamic, mid-size boutique that provides knowledgeable and practical legal representation to the construction, surety, government contracts and bankruptcy industries world-wide.

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