01 September 2022

UPDATE: Biden Administration Announces No Enforcement of Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate Until Further Notice

Following last week’s ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals partially lifting the nationwide injunction against the federal contractor vaccine mandate, yesterday the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force announced on its website that the federal government will take no action to implement or enforce the mandate absent further written notice.

Our previous alert on the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling is below.  If you have any questions, please contact your Miller Johnson attorney or one of the authors.

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On August 26, a federal appeals court in Georgia struck down the nationwide injunction of the federal contractor vaccine mandate, narrowing the injunction to only the parties in the case—seven states and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a construction industry trade group.  (The nationwide injunction had been previously set in place by a lower court in December.)  At the same time, the appeals court agreed that the mandate likely exceeds the Biden administration’s authority.

With the nationwide injunction now lifted, the multiple other court cases across the country challenging the contractor mandate become much more relevant, especially if one of them reaches the Supreme Court.

Separate injunctions against the mandate issued by other federal courts remain in place despite the Georgia court’s ruling.  These injunctions impact enforcement of the mandate in various states, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.

As of the publication of this alert, the federal government’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force—responsible for implementing the contractor mandate—has not updated its guidance or taken a position on future enforcement as a result of the Georgia court’s ruling.  Furthermore, the Task Force website still identifies all fifty states as areas where the government will take no action to enforce the mandate.

Stay tuned for additional guidance as this issue continues to develop.  If you have any questions, please contact your Miller Johnson attorney or one of the authors.