Last week, I deleted the Twitter app off my iPhone as a bit of an experiment. I’ve done this a few times before — but the start of the pandemic back in early 2020 had me going full on Twitter since then. After all, if it’s important, it’s on Twitter, right?
Well, not exactly. In fact, when I was sick for a few days, I kept turning to Twitter and finding…not much that merited the visit to the app — just boredom. (Never fear though, I can still access it on my computer browser.) Nevertheless, I wondered how much I’d miss if I just took it of my phone.
The first real answer came on Friday when news came of the Fifth Circuit’s
beatdown decision to stay enforcement of the OSHA vax or test Emergency Temporary Standard. Turns out you can hear about it the same time as others even without being on Twitter.
But what happened next was interesting for me — nothing. Without being on Twitter, I missed the immediate reactions, overreactions, snark, and, sure, some actual insights.
And that’s ok.
We are entering a time during this pandemic when the changes are happening more incrementally and slowly. Perhaps we are headed for a modest 5th wave here, for example. That might require employers to adjust on the fly again. But speed isn’t everything right now.
Thus, with the luxury of a few more days to ponder and think, where are we now on the OSHA rule?
For employers, the 5th Circuit decision is certainly something to keep an eye on. But it’s not definitive. The 5th Circuit is THE most conservative circuit in the country and it’s actions here are a bit over the top and arguably too politicized. (Criticizing the Occupational Safety and HEALTH Administration for regulating workplace public health seems unnecessary, for example.) As I noted before, all these cases on the OSHA ETS are going to get combined and decided by a court picked in a multi-district litigation lottery early this week.
Do employers just ignore the decision entirely? No. But given the approaching deadlines and the huge uncertainty that remains, it is hardly the definitive word either.
Employers should consider the following deadlines:
- By December 5, 2021, employers must create, implement and enforce a policy regarding vaccination, testing and related items. OSHA has model policies for employers to use as a start but be sure to have counsel review your final product.
- By the same date, employers must have collected and maintained all employees’ vaccination status.
- Also by the same date, all unvaccinated workers must wear masks when indoors.
- By January 4, 2022, employees who are not fully vaccinated must begin weekly COVID testing if they come into the office/workplace.
This does not give employers much breathing room to “wait and see” what the courts too. With the Thanksgiving holiday next week, the deadlines will be here quickly. Thus, employers should use this week to continue to implement the OSHA guidance.
And as for my Twitter experiment, I kind of like it. I did something similar with Facebook a year or two ago as well and haven’s missed the immediacy of it either. I’ll probably relent at some point but we’ll see.
Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got a new app in town – TikTok and there’s a bones/no-bones day reading I need to watch. Plus a ten-minute video of Taylor Swift’s new/old song to watch.