Update on Vaccine Mandate Litigation: Keep Watching...

Is your nonprofit subject to a COVID vaccine requirement for its employees? In the last few months, such “mandates” have been issued for “large” employers (i.e., with at least 100 employees), federal contractors, federal employees, and medical workers. Correspondingly, a flurry of litigation has erupted, with dozens of states, businesses, religious organizations, and other nonprofits challenging such mandates on a plethora of constitutional, procedural, and other legal grounds. We reported recently on OSHA’s large employer mandate, and now we provide an update based on a federal court ruling and other important developments. – with implications for the OSHA mandate as well as similar employment directives. Key takeaway: watch closely for new legal developments!

OSHA's Vaccine Mandate for Large Employers: What to Do Now?

On November 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an “emergency temporary standard” (ETS) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 (Covid) transmission in the workplace and to protect unvaccinated workers from contracting the virus at work (Vaccine ETS). This Vaccine ETS applies nationwide to employers with 100 or more employees. Under the Vaccine ETS, employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory Covid vaccine policy and determine vaccination status of employees within 30 days, then continue with enforcement measures within 60 days.

EEOC and Illinois Updates: COVID-Related Religious Exemptions

In COVID time, the world continues to spin at a lightning-fast pace. Workers across the country are increasingly facing employers’ demands to get a COVID shot or to lose their jobs. A host of issues accompanies such requirement - public policy, legal, moral, religious, health, and political – and such issues can be highly divisive. On the religious aspects, two important developments occurred this week. First, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updated guidance addressing key aspects of religious exemptions. Second, with respect to Illinois workplaces, the Illinois state legislature moved swiftly to sharply curtail religious right of conscience protections – with the Governor’s expected approval to follow.