Update on Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate: No Need to Comply for Now, but Private Arrangements May Still be Enforceable
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of challenges to the OSHA ETS and the CMS Vaccine Mandate making the headlines, less attention has been paid to the federal contractor vaccine mandate even though it remains a separate topic of continuing interest for many employers. Presidential Executive Order 14042 (September 9, 2021) directed the federal agencies to contractually require certain federal contractors and subcontractors to implement COVID-19 workplace safety measures, including a vaccine mandate with no “testing” option. According to an update from Littler, on January 21, the Georgia Federal District Court issued an order stating that its injunction applies only to enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate and that the requirements relating to masking, social distancing, and designation of an individual to coordinate COVID-19 safety protocols at covered workplaces have not been enjoined.
In the same order, the court declined to consider a request to clarify whether employers are permitted to enter into voluntary agreements modeled on the federal contractor requirements.
This new decision aside, because multiple courts have issued injunctions, the extent to which the non-vaccine-related federal contractor mandates are enforceable remains unclear. Littler does not have details about whether the government has any interest in enforcing the non-vaccine-related requirements, and will continue to report on developments as they happen.