Bradley partner David Pugh was quoted in Law360 on vaccine mandates for federal contractors.
In September, President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14042 mandating that certain government contracts include a clause requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which quickly sparked litigation opposing the move. Updated guidance issued in November extended the vaccination compliance deadline to January 18. The mandate would apply to part- and full-time employees of a covered contractor "working on or in connection with a covered contract or working at a covered contractor workplace," according to the update.
However, the rule, which would apply to many construction contractors seeking to do business with the federal government in connection with the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, was stopped from going into effect December 7 by a Georgia federal judge who ruled the Biden administration had likely exceeded its procurement authority.
While the rule is paused, Pugh said clients would be advised to have plans in place to follow the regulation in case the order is eventually upheld. However, Pugh said it's "more likely than not that the legal challenges will be successful."
In Pugh's view, both the contracting regulation and vaccine mandate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have "some serious legal concerns."
Among other reasons, Pugh said that he doesn't believe that the legal standard of imminent danger needed for the mandate is properly met, given that more than 70% of American adults are now vaccinated, which was seen as a key threshold by the Biden administration.
The original article, “Construction Litigation To Watch in 2022,” appeared in Law360 on January 3, 2022.