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Tsunamis, Synagogues, Storms and Stays

It was a newsworthy weekend. A volcano eruption off the coast of Tonga causing tsunami warnings as far west as California and as far east as Japan. A hostage standoff at a synagogue in Texas. Thankfully no hostages killed or injured. And a winter storm hitting the East Coast and the South, causing power outages, and up to 25 inches of snow. And we’re only two weeks into the new year!

Leading into the weekend, the U.S. Supreme Court’s reinstated a stay of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) applicable to private employers with 100 or more employees. Yes, the ETS issued by OSHA on November 4, 2022, which was stayed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 6, 2021, later had the stay lifted by the Sixth District Court of Appeals on December 17, 2021, has now been stayed again by the U.S. Supreme Court while the Sixth District Court of Appeals reviews challenges to the ETS on its merits. Feeling a little whiplash?

While the ultimate outcome isn’t certain, what is certain is that whatever happens in the Sixth District Court of Appeals is likely to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, and if the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay of this past week is any indication, things don’t look good for enforcement of the ETS. However, just because things don’t look good for OSHA’s ETS, don’t forget that you’re still subject to CalOSHA’s ETS, which, by the way, was just revised on January 14, 2022.

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