Judge Issues Nationwide Injunction Halting Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate

December 8, 2021

Latest update in series:
Eleventh Circuit Narrows Scope of Contractor Vaccine Mandate Injunction (August 28, 2022)
What’s Next for Employers After the Supreme Court’s Vaccine Rulings? (January 14, 2022)

Related webinar replays:
OSHA ETS Employee COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Mandates New Requirements, Tips and Traps for Large Employers (November 10, 2021)
COVID-19 Employee Vaccine and Testing Mandates New Requirements for Large Employers, Federal Contractors and Healthcare Organizations (September 16, 2021)

On Dec. 7, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted a motion for preliminary injunction in State of Georgia v. Biden, temporarily halting enforcement of President Biden’s federal contractor / subcontractor vaccine mandate across the country. Judge R. Stan Baker found the plaintiffs (which include seven state governments, various state agencies and a nationwide trade organization) will likely succeed in their claim that President Biden’s broad authority over federal procurement does not extend to the power to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors.

The Dec. 7 Order follows a preliminary injunction entered on Nov. 30, 2021, by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, blocking enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate, but only in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Unlike the Eastern District of Kentucky’s order, the Southern District of Georgia’s preliminary injunction has nationwide effect.

Notably, this nationwide injunction effectively stays enforcement of the administration’s Sept. 9, 2021 Executive Order 14042 and the related Sept. 24, 2021 Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance. However, the injunction does not enjoin the separate rules and timelines regarding federal site access vaccination requirements under EO 13991 and Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Agency Model Safety Principles issued in July 2021 and updated on Sept. 13, 2021.

For questions about compliance with the federal contractor vaccine mandate or ongoing litigation challenging it and other federal COVID-19 employee requirements, please contact the authors of this alert, your McGuireWoods contact, or a member of the firm’s affirmative actionfederal contracting, labor and employment, or COVID-19 response teams.