On December 7, 2021, a third COVID-19 vaccine directive from the Biden administration has been placed on hold. Previously in September, the Biden administration issued Executive Order 14042 (“Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors”), which directed covered contracts to include a clause that federal contractors and any subcontractor (at any tier) must incorporate mandatory vaccination requirements and related safety provisions among its covered workers and covered workplaces. This Order was temporarily blocked in three states on November 30 by a federal district court in Kentucky and has now been temporarily blocked nationwide pursuant to an injunction granted by a federal district court in Georgia. This injunction is applicable to federal contractors and subcontractors in North Dakota until there is further judicial review of whether the President exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress when issuing the Order requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations among their employees.
Once again, in the meantime, we recommend that covered federal contractors/subcontractors continue preparing for compliance in the event the injunction is lifted with short notice. Employers in North Dakota may choose to move forward with mandatory vaccination policies, but those that do should work closely with legal counsel to review their exemption request procedures to ensure compliance with new North Dakota state law (as outlined in our previous Blog on HB 1511 and our Blog on the blocking of the CMS Rule).