Last week, we shared that a federal district court in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction blocking the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. See Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Biden, No. 3:21-cv-00055 (E.D. Ky. Nov. 30, 2021).
Yesterday, a federal district court in Georgia issued a preliminary injunction blocking this same vaccine mandate from taking effect nationwide. See State of Georgia v. Biden, No. 1:21-cv-163 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 7, 2021). As with the Commonwealth of Kentucky decision, the Court in State of Georgia found that the plaintiffs (Georgia, six other states, and various agencies within those states) and intervenors (Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. and one of its chapters) were likely to succeed on their claim that President Biden exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress through the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act when issuing Executive Order 14042. After finding that all other requirements for the issuance of a preliminary injunction were met, the Court issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in any state or territory during the pendency of the action or until further order of the Court.
With yesterday’s ruling, each of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers is blocked nationwide. The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard requiring vaccination or weekly testing for private employers with 100 or more employees has been stayed, with the Sixth Circuit selected to hear the consolidated challenges to it. Last week, two different federal district courts issued injunctions that blocked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its vaccine mandate for certain healthcare workers. In response to these decisions, CMS stated that it had suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of this rule pending future developments in the litigation.
The ongoing legal challenges to these vaccine mandates will continue to work their way through the courts, with the ultimate outcomes uncertain. We will continue to monitor for further developments and will provide updates as events dictate. For more information on COVID-19 vaccine requirements or the related legal challenges, contact any member of the McNees Labor & Employment Group.