Skip to content
ACEC News / Advocacy

December 7, 2021

Update on Federal Vaccine Mandates & Year-End Webinar to Answer Your Questions

By Dan Hilton

Over the weekend, the courts once again ruled in favor of employers and against OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS). Specifically, they denied a request by OSHA to transfer the case back to the 5th Circuit (from the 6th Circuit where it remains). The courts also denied a request by labor unions favoring the ETS to move the case to the DC Circuit, where a similar case is being heard addressing a mandate for healthcare workers. The next move to watch will be OSHA’s petition to dissolve the current stay order, which is scheduled for December 10. View ruling here.

The ETS remains on hold until then. A reminder that the ETS required employers of businesses employing more than 100 to develop and announce their firm’s policies for regular testing or proof of vaccination by December 6, and to implement that plan by January 4. Both are on hold pending the Court’s ruling.  A number of participants have requested that the case be heard by the court’s full 20-member roster of active judges, instead of starting out with consideration by a three-judge panel, which is the normal procedure in a federal appeals court. This is viewed as a way to expedite its path to the Supreme Court, which either losing side will be expected to seek.

With regard EO 14042, the federal contractor mandate, much of that remains on course for implementation, however, a federal court recently issued a temporary ruling barring enforcement in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Legal interpretations have suggested that federal contractors in those three states are preliminarily, no longer required to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 18, but the remaining states must still follow the direction of the Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce and their agency partners. Similar legal challenges have been mounted by other state attorneys general including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas. Further complicating matters are the continual rise of state laws addressing these mandates. For example, in Tennessee, under a law enacted on November 12, “employers are not allowed to require employees to show proof of vaccination status or take any adverse action against an employee if the employee does not comply with the company’s vaccination policy.” This offers little certainty to the many firms operating across multiple states.

Because this remains a top priority for both employers and the Biden Administration, we will be hosting an end-of-year session with leading experts on these two issues. The federal contractor and employment law experts with Wiley Rein’s Covid-19 Team will answer your questions on December 17 at 1:00 ET. They have asked for your questions and concerns in advance to help them best prepare to address the challenges your firms may still be facing. Please join us on December 17 at 1:00 ET as we continue to address this evolving issue once more before the calendar year draws to a close.

Register here.

Dan Hilton is ACEC Director of Procurement Advocacy & International Affairs.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.


December 7, 2021



Scroll To Top