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Courts Block Vaccine Mandates

Updated Dec. 8: This week, a federal court judge in Georgia temporarily halted the vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide until several challenges to the order play out in court.
Dec 08, 2021

Federal Contractor Mandate

This week, a federal court judge in Georgia temporarily halted the vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide until several challenges to the order play out in court. U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker said in the order that the challengers, who claim President Joe Biden exceeded his authority, would likely succeed. Biden vowed to defend the order in court vigorously. 

The mandate states that federal contractors' employees must be fully vaccinated no later than Jan. 18, 2022. 

Resources For Federal Contractors

Private Business Mandate

Last month, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended the stay of the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for private businesses. The rule requires companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either vaccinated against the coronavirus or tested weekly starting Jan. 4, 2022. The court ordered OSHA to "take no steps to implement or enforce" the ETS "until further court order."

Now it's up to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether to maintain the stay and how to resolve a consolidation of additional legal challenges to the ETS filed across the country. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) selected the 6th Circuit by lottery at the request of the Justice Department. 

Meanwhile, in Congress, Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Rep. Fred Keller, R-Pa., introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenge to the ETS. The CRA allows Congress to challenge rules issued by the administration. If passed, the ETS would be nullified, and OSHA could not issue any similar rule in the future. All 50 Republican senators and close to 200 representatives have cosponsored the resolutions. However, passage is an uphill battle, given that it requires support from Democrats and a signature by the president. 

Resources For Private Employers With 100+ Employees 


  • Written comments on any aspect of the OSHA ETS can be submitted for the public record by Jan 19, 2022, in Docket No. OSHA-2021-0007. Over 75,000 comments have been received.

  • To reach out to Congress and express opposition to the OSHA ETS, visit safetynotmandates.com

This article originally ran Nov. 30, 2021. The Federal Contractor Mandate portion has been updated. The original text of that section can be found below.

Federal Contractor Mandate Remains in Place

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force recently clarified that covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated no later than Jan. 18, 2022. This requirement is not affected by the OSHA ETS stay.

Amber Thomas
Vice President, Advocacy
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