And just like that…three prongs of the broad federal vaccine mandate issued as part of the Path Out of the Pandemic initiative – specifically those applicable to federal contractors, certain healthcare workers, and employers with 100 or more employees – have been blocked by multiple federal courts.
Here’s a rundown of where things stand as of today:
Federal Contractor Mandate: Initially blocked in 3 states by a Kentucky judge on November 30, 2021, then blocked in all states by a Georgia federal judge on December 7, 2021.
Healthcare Mandate: Initially blocked in 10 states by a Missouri federal judge on November 29, 2021, then blocked nationwide by a Louisiana judge on November 30, 2021.
Large Employer Mandate: Blocked nationally by the 5th Circuit on November 12, 2021 – multiple challenges combined and moved to the 6th Circuit as of November 16, 2021. In addition, the Senate voted December 8, 2021, to block the mandate – a move that is largely symbolic given the long odds of passage in the House, and near certainty of veto by the President.
The ultimate fate of each of these mandates remains unknown at this time. Appeals are likely following any rulings, and it is expected that some or all will eventually reach the Supreme Court — so which provisions will survive, if any, is impossible to predict.
In the meantime, as we have said, it is advisable for all employers covered by the mandates to continue to monitor developments and be prepared in the event all or parts of the mandate eventually take effect.
Employers should also continue to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of workers. With COVID cases and hospitalizations on the rise, both locally and across the country, primarily due to the continued spread of the Delta variant – in addition to the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant – employers should continue to be vigilant and follow appropriate safety protocols, since failure to adequately protect workers could still lead to citations or liability, even without a separate OSHA or other federal mandate in place.
We will continue to monitor and update you on developments as they occur – and please do not hesitate to reach out with any specific questions or concerns.
Christine Nentwig firstname.lastname@example.org (717) 718-3956.
Previous related articles on vaccine mandate:
- Labor & Employment Alert: Temporary Halt of Vaccine Mandate Enforcement
- Labor & Employment Update: Vaccine Mandate Rules
Attorney and Shareholder
Christine is Chair of the Employment Law Group at CGA Law Firm, and has more than 25 years of experience providing labor and employment guidance to clients in both the private and public sectors.
Christine earned her JD from the University of Maryland School of Law and her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management – she is also an adjunct professor at York College of Pennsylvania, teaching Employment Law and Labor Relations.