September 14, 2021

Alexa Miller Speaks to Law360 About Nationwide Vaccine Mandate for Certain Employers

Law360 reported that President Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require employers with 100 or more workers to ensure they are vaccinated or tested weekly. In “Questions Remain About How Vax Mandate Will Affect Firms,” labor and employment associate Alexa Miller discussed the impact of the nationwide mandate on the legal industry.

According to the publication, the OSHA is expected to formalize the mandate and issue a directive called an emergency temporary standard (ETS) with specifics on how it will be applied to law firms, how it will be enforced and what kinds of exemptions it will include.

Miller said the vaccine mandate would push firms that had resisted mandates into line with the rest of the industry. “I think we’re going to see more law firms taking that route,” she explained. “For those who were on the fence about implementing the vaccine mandate, I think this new ETS is going to push them over the fence.”

However, several questions remain, Miller said. It is still not clear how the mandate will apply, if at all, to law firm employees working remotely and whether equity partners will be considered employees for this purpose.

More generally, guidance is needed to clarify whether the 100-employee threshold will apply to each of a firm’s individual offices or its total headcount. It is also not clear whether part-time employees will be required to get the vaccine, Miller noted. She continued, “We’re hoping that that’s going to be addressed, if not in the ETS, in some guidance released by the Department of Labor shortly thereafter.”

Miller said she anticipates that the mandate will face a host of legal challenges. The venues in which those challenges arise will likely be a factor in whether stays will be issued. “We’re sort of just waiting for that,” she added.

The full article is available for Law360 subscribers.

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