Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued a nationwide injunction to prevent the federal contractor vaccine mandate from being enforced. The Department of Justice appealed, requesting the injunction be stayed while the case is on appeal. On Dec. 17, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals court refused to do so. It will not lift the injunction.
This means, for those federal solicitations and contracts that have been awarded or modified to include a clause mandating compliance with Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance, the government cannot enforce it.
The Eleventh Circuit did decide to expedite the federal government’s appeal of the injunction. All briefs must be filed by Jan. 24, 2022, and oral arguments will be heard shortly thereafter. In all probability, the appellate court will issue a decision in February 2022. Regardless of the outcome, it is likely to end up at the Supreme Court.
So, unless the government finds a different legal path to implement a similar requirement, the nationwide injunction preventing enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate will remain in place until at least February 2022.
Taft’s Government Contracts practice group will continue to provide updates on this situation as they develop.
Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.