Recently, courts have blocked three different federal vaccination mandates issued under the Biden administration. Read the important developments on the federal contractor, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccination mandates.
Federal Contractor COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate
On Nov. 30, a Kentucky district court preliminarily enjoined the federal contractor vaccination mandate but only for three states—Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Other cases are pending in Missouri, Texas, Florida and Arizona, where courts and are also on track to issue preliminary rulings next week.
ABC and its Texas Chapter filed a declaration in support of a preliminary injunction against the federal contractor vaccination mandate policy in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division on Nov. 16. On Nov. 18, ABC and its Georgia Chapter filed a motion to intervene in support of a suit filed by the state of Georgia and six other states in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia Augusta Division. Read the press release.
CMS COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Health Care Staff (and Contractors)
On Nov. 30, a federal court in Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care staff. The CMS mandate applies to a wide range of people working at health care facilities, including employees, trainees, students, volunteers or contractors, who provide any care, treatment, or other services for the facility. This ruling is of interest to ABC members who perform construction work at health care facilities. Earlier in the week, a court in Missouri had issued a more limited injunction.
6th Circuit to Hear Challenges to OSHA ETS
On Nov. 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit granted a motion to stay the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, which applies to employers with 100 or more employees.
Thereafter, OSHA announced that it has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.
On Nov. 16, via lottery, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit was chosen to hear challenges to the OSHA ETS, which includes ABC’s petition for review filed on Nov. 9. DOL has filed a motion to lift the stay.
Additionally, on Nov. 30, the agency announced that it was extending the comment period for the OSHA ETS to Jan. 19, 2022, to allow stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment. In the beginning of January, ABC will circulate a comment letter template for ABC contractor members to submit to the docket.
How do the court orders impact ABC members?
Since the court orders staying the different federal mandates are at this time only preliminary, it is premature to say the threat posed by the federal mandates is past. It appears the mandates will be at a minimum delayed, but there will inevitably be appeals perhaps up to the Supreme Court. And there are many private, state and local mandates that are not affected by these court rulings.
ABC recommends that its members continue to monitor the latest developments in Newsline and plan for the possibility of vaccination mandates, while encouraging employees to get vaccinated and following all safety protocols as required by court-approved federal, state and local governments.
Look for more information in Newsline and the Beltway Blueprint.