Today, the United States Supreme Court STAYED implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) “Vax or Test” Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS required most employers with 100 or more employees to implement policies for employees to either get (1) fully vaccinated or (2) tested weekly for COVID-19 and wear a mask.
The Court ruled that OSHA went beyond its statutory authority in imposing the mandate. The Court noted that “although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly”. This ruling is an ominous sign for the mandate because the Court found that the applicants are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that OSHA lacked authority to impose it.
Where do Dealers go from here? Dealers have been preparing with their human resources professionals and attorneys to implement the ETS. Some dealers may have already instituted a vaccine mandate for their dealerships, while others have not. The decision whether to impose a vaccine mandate has always been a business decision to suit your individual dealerships and it remains as such.
NJ CAR recommends that dealerships be mindful that keeping their employees and customers safe remains the paramount objective. Dealerships should continue to encourage unvaccinated employees and customers to wear a mask and social distance, especially indoors, to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. Dealerships should continue to protect employees and customers by implementing the following public health and safety recommendations for businesses on the State of New Jersey website:
- Businesses are encouraged to follow CDC safety guidelines and social distancing to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Masks are not required for most indoor workplaces; however, businesses should encourage unvaccinated employees, customers, and guests to wear masks.
- If masks or gloves are required by employers, businesses are encouraged to provide them to employees.
- Businesses are encouraged to provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals.
- Employees should practice hand hygiene and employers should provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose.
- Routine cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch areas of the showroom and service waiting areas is encouraged in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines.
- Sanitize vehicles before and after service, test drives and upon delivery.
- Prior to each shift, employers are encouraged to conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance.
- Employers are encouraged to keep sick employees from entering the workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws.
- Encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Employers should promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite.
NJ CAR recommends that, at a minimum, dealerships should place signs on the entrance of the dealerships and conspicuously in the dealership that encourages the unvaccinated individual to wear a mask.
Additional information may be found at: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/reopening-guidance-and-restrictions/are-there-safety-guidelines-for-businesses-are-any-businesses-closed.