OSHA issued their new standard for employers today. The intent is to comply with the federal mandate. I read through it and will share pertinent sections. It’s clear that OSHA is not requiring employers to mandate vaccines. They “strongly encourage” them to do so citing grave dangers to the unvaccinated in workplace settings, but employers are not bound by this and have the right to opt out. So, employers like Cisco, IBM, and General Electric have implemented a vaccine mandate for all employees – office, plant, and remote under the guise that they have no choice but to comply.
Many employers cite the guidance for working as a federal contractor, but it is guidance, not law. This is not enforceable. The ridiculous “guidance” in the document suggests that even remote workers must be vaccinated. That offers no health benefit – perceived or otherwise to any staff with the federal agency or contractor. This excerpt details the guidance for remote contract workers.
But these corporations take it one step further and mandate ALL employees to be vaccinated or face dismissal even if they are remote and don’t work on federal contracts! This is outrageous!
Moving on to the OSHA emergency standard, this is their statement:
“OSHA has determined that the best method for addressing the grave danger that Covid-19 poses to unvaccinated workers is to strongly encourage the use of the single most effective and efficient protection available: Vaccination. Although OSHA may well have the authority to impose a vaccination mandate, OSHA has decided against pursuing strict vaccination requirement and has instead crated the ETS to strongly encourage vaccination.
. . . Accordingly, to further the goal of increasing workforce vaccination rates, this ETS requires employers to implement a mandatory vaccination policy unless they adopt a policy in which employees may either be fully vaccinated OR regularly tested for Covid-19 and wear a face covering in most situations when they work near other individuals.
So, it’s clear that there is no vaccine mandate from OSHA. Further, employees have the right to file an exemption from the tests.
From the FAQ:
6.H. If an employee is entitled to a reasonable accommodation due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated, would the employee still need to be tested weekly?
Yes. The ETS requires weekly Covid-19 testing of all un-vaccinated employees, including those entitled to a reasonable accommodation from vaccination requirements. However, if testing for Covid-19 conflicts with a worker’s sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance, the worker may be entitled to a reasonable. accommodation.
It’s also clear that employers can set up a hybrid approach of requiring testing and masks for office employees and no requirements for remote workers. Instead, many large companies are mandating vaccinations for all employees and it’s inexcusable.
3. B. Am I permitted to implement a partial mandatory vaccination policy that requires vaccination for employees that provide services directly to members of the public, but allows other employees the choice of vaccination or testing?
Yes. OSHA recognizes there may be employers who develop and implement partial mandatory vaccination policies, ie. that apply to only a portion of their workforce. An example might be a retail corporation who has a mixture of staff working at the corporate headquarters, performing intermittent telework from home, and working in stores serving customers. In this type of situation, the employer may choose to require vaccination of only some subset of its employees, and treat vaccination as optional for others (e.g., those who work from headquarters or who perform intermittent work).
The lawsuits that have been filed over the federal mandate will likely go nowhere because mandates are not laws. It is the employers who are choosing to implement stricter requirements than the guidelines and standards from OSHA and the Safe Federal Workforce Task Force suggest.
I hope you find this information helpful. I suggest you question your corporate leader and human resource departments about their rationale for implementing such extreme measures, especially on remote workers who are not in contact with any other employees or federal workers. They are acting as if these are new laws which must be obeyed. Only our legislators can enact laws. This is a dangerous, deceptive tactic similar to the mask mandates when all of this started. It is destroying our freedoms.
One final important observation from reading the OSHA document is that they are making the claim that the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine. That is not true. The Comirnaty-labeled vaccines are not available in the United States; therefore all vaccines remain under emergency use authorization and can’t legally be mandated.