A federal judge in the case of Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Biden has decided President Joe Biden likely overstepped his authority with Executive Order 14042 in requiring federal contractors to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees. Adding additional complexity and confusion to the already muddied landscape, the decision enjoins the Order for going into effect in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee -the three states that challenged the Executive Order in the lawsuit. Federal contractors and subcontractors subject to EO 14042 and the implementing FAR Clause are relieved, at least temporarily, from implementing the requirements for employees in the three named states. This injunction throws a curve ball for Tennessee employers in particular.
Those employers with employees in Tennessee should be mindful of the Tennessee law that, among other things, prohibits private employers from requiring employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or taking adverse action against an employee who does not show proof of vaccination if they object for any reason. Under that law If an employer would lose federal funds, the employer can file a petition for relief from the state controller, but with EO 14042 enjoined this option will not be available.
The case is Commonwealth of Kentucky et al. v. Biden et al., case number 3:21-cv-00055, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.