As fast and mercurial as HR compliance has been in the age of COVID-19, we hit hyperdrive in the past few months.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services healthcare COVID-19 vaccine mandate (the “CMS Rule”) requires the staff of twenty-one types of Medicare and Medicaid healthcare providers to be fully vaccinated. The CMS Rule got off to a rocky start. A federal judge in Louisiana had entered a nationwide injunction to block the CMS Rule. Then the Fifth Circuit lifted the injunction in several states. Last week, the Supreme Court had the final word and lifted the injunction across the country.
Finally, there’s President Biden’s Executive Order mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for employees of certain federal contractors (the “Contactor EO”). In December, a federal judge in Georgia entered a nationwide injunction to block the Contactor EO. The Eleventh Circuit denied the government motion to stay the nationwide preliminary injunction of the Contractor EO pending appeal. A date at the Supreme Court seems likely.
Meanwhile, the CDC changed its guidance on quarantine and isolation. Then, it did it again. More than anything, this guidance reinforces the importance of COVID-19 boosters. Should your business require boosters if it mandates employee vaccinations? What if your company wants to stop mandating vaccinations now that the OSHA ETS is basically dead?
Perhaps your company will test instead. But, without the OSHA ETS, who pays for the tests, or the time spent testing?
What about masks — how much do they matter? And should companies re-emphasize telecommuting where feasible during these Omicron spikes?
We’ve got a lot to discuss and some planning ahead to do.
So, I propose that you and I and some of my FisherBroyles employment law partners convene on Friday, January 21, 2022, at Noon ET on Zoom to recap and discuss.
Here is the registration link, which includes a space for you to ask hypothetical COVID-19 questions for a friend. During the mailbag portion of The Employer Handbook Zoom Happy Hour, my colleagues and I will try to answer them without providing any specific legal advice or otherwise creating an attorney-client relationship.
Tell a friend and sign up fast! Space is limited. See you Friday.