August 16, 2021
Authored by: Charles Jellinek
In the strongest language issued on the subject to date, on August 13, 2021, OSHA revised its COVID guidance for employers (“Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace”) and “suggest[ed] that employers consider adopting policies that require workers to get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing – in addition to mask wearing and physical distancing – if they remain unvaccinated.”
Since COVID vaccines became widely available, employers have been weighing whether to implement a COVID vaccination requirement for employees (whether to enter the workplace or to remain employed). While not having the same force and effect as a regulation, published OSHA guidance is a meaningful and important indicator of what the federal safety watchdog considers to be appropriate employer action. For those employers who were looking for that nudge to convince them to implement a policy requiring vaccination, this revised guidance may just be that nudge.
As we discussed in previous blog posts (Coronavirus (US): Key vaccination issues for employers – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) on the subject, when implementing a mandatory vaccination policy, employers must, among other legal