Thursday, January 6, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-6-22: Starbucks become first employer of note to adopt OSHA vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard

I don't know what you'll be doing tomorrow morning at 10 am. But I do know what most employment lawyers will be doing — their best to follow the Supreme Court oral arguments in the appeal related to the OSHA vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard for employers with 100 or more employees (as well as the appeal related to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services healthcare worker vaccination mandate). 

Starbucks, however, is not waiting for SCOTUS to rule on the legality of the OSHA ETS. It has informed its 220,000 nationwide employees that they must disclose their vaccination status by January 10, and either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly by February 9.

In a memo to all of the company's employees, CEO John Culver explained his rationale:
This is an important step we can take to help more partners get vaccinated, limit the spread of Covid-19, and create choices that partners can own based on what's best for them. If vaccination rates rise and community spread slows, we will adapt accordingly. But if things get worse, we may have to consider additional measures. For now, my hope is that we will all do our part to protect one another. (Emphasis added).
COVID-19 has taken a lot from us, including our care and compassion for others. Many too many of us have adopted a me-first, "freedom"-first attitude. Bravo, John Culver, for taking a stand for what's right for society as a whole over what might be right in the eyes of an individual for that individual. We live in a society and should care what happens to it. We all should very much care what happens to others and "do our part to protect one another." The fact that we haven't, in the face of the worst public health crisis of our lives that has killed 828,000 of us, says everything we need to know about the state of America in the 2020s. It's not a great look for us.