Federal Contractor Shot Mandate Will Not Be Enforced

Sep 13, 2022

ATLANTA, GA – Following a recent decision from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Biden administration will no longer implement or enforce Executive Order 14042 which directed federal agencies to require federal contractors and subcontractors to mandate that their employees receive the COVID-19 shot. 

The federal government has now updated its “Safer Federal Workforce Task Force” guidance on the federal contractor COVID-19 shot mandate and suspended the process of requiring vaccination in new federal contracts. For contracts already containing clauses implementing EO 14042, the government would take no action to enforce the clauses “absent further written notice from the agency.” 

On August 26, 2022, the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the lower court that the mandate exceeded Biden’s authority, but it also decided that a nationwide injunction was inappropriate. The court criticized the recent rise in nationwide injunctions to challenge federal actions and held that courts should more properly address only the parties before them. Therefore, the appeals court narrowed the injunction to simply prevent the federal government from enforcing the vaccination provisions of EO 14042 against the seven states (and their associated agencies) that were plaintiffs, and against members of Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade group that was also an actual plaintiff in the Georgia case.

The appeals court wrote, “The district court appropriately determined that the plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the contractor vaccine mandate. But the scope of that injunction—extending nationwide and without distinction to plaintiffs and nonparties alike—was overbroad. We AFFIRM the district court’s order to the extent that it enjoins federal agencies from enforcing the mandate against the plaintiffs—the seven plaintiff States and their agencies and members of Associated Builders and Contractors—and to the extent that it bars the federal government from considering a bidder’s compliance with the mandate when deciding whether to grant a contract to a plaintiff or to a nonparty bidder. We otherwise VACATE the preliminary injunction. As a result, the federal government is no longer enjoined from enforcing the mandate in new and existing procurement contracts between the federal government and nonparties, or in the selection process following solicitations in which no plaintiff participates as a bidder.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Joe Biden and the federal government have clearly overstepped their authority in demanding a COVID shot mandate for federal contractors. Now that the courts continue to agree, it’s time for the Biden administration to respect individual rights to decide what to inject in their bodies and to comply with the law.” 

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