How Your Business Should Handle Vaccine and Testing Mandates

Answer by Kara Govro, Chief HR Legal Expert

On Saturday, November 6, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals placed a temporary hold on the ETS (emergency temporary standard); they then extended that hold on November 12. Because the ETS got sued about in every circuit court in the country, there was a lottery to see which circuit would hear the combined cases (to avoid different courts making different conflicting rulings about a single federal rule). The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals drew the winning ticket and will hear the case in the near future, but we don’t know when their ruling will be released.

At this point, it’s up to you whether you want to start preparing to comply or wait and see how the legal challenges play out. (Chances are high that the ETS will not be revived, but obviously no one can guarantee that.) If you choose to prepare now and the ETS is revived, then you’ll be ready to go on December 6. On the other hand, if it gets thrown out, then you’ll have wasted some time and energy. If you wait, then you might be scrambling to comply by the deadline.

If you choose to prepare now, here are the basics that should be on your list:

* Decide which type of policy you want: (1) vaccine mandate or (2) vaccine or test (with either policy, unvaccinated employees will need to wear masks indoors at work)

* Download a template policy from OSHA’s website here and modify as needed (but don’t distribute it to employees yet)

* Download the CDC notice about the vaccines and decide whether you want to distribute it on paper, electronically, or a combination of the two (available here)

* Prepare a notice about employees’ rights not to be retaliated or discriminated against when exercising their rights under OSHA

* Prepare a notice about the penalties for falsely representing their vaccination status (available from OSHA here)

* Create a roster to input and maintain a record of each employee’s vaccination status

* Draft an email, letter, or instant message to explain the new policy to employees when it’s time to roll it out

* Monitor the news for developments on the legal challenges

This question originally appeared on Quora.