As the legal battles over the Biden administrations vaccine mandate for federal contractors continue, I authored an article for Law360 published on December 22, 2021 discussing significant rulings limiting the mandate’s enforcement in matters brought by multiple states.
After the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky ruled on November 30 to prohibit enforcement of the mandate against contractors and subcontractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued an injunction on December 7 prohibiting such enforcement nationwide. On December 16, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a third injunction prohibiting enforcement of the mandate, which was limited to the plaintiff states.
In addition to detailing the arguments and legal considerations weighed by the court in each case, I offered insight on what contractors can do now as additional cases are heard around the country, particularly as related matters head for January 7 oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court (announced shortly after Law360 published my article).
For the time being, contractors and subcontractors have the discretion to stop efforts to meet the original January 18 compliance deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated. They also have a basis for rejecting the inclusion of vaccine mandate contract provisions in their agreements.
However, contactors that would like to proceed with mandatory vaccination policies may do so insofar as those actions comply with state law. Without this federal mandate in effect at the moment, contractors moving forward with vaccine requirements should carefully review any applicable state law restrictions and monitor ongoing legal developments, which we track on our GovCon & Trade blog.