A federal judge has preliminarily enjoined Executive Order (EO) 14042, which requires federal contractors to comply with COVID-19 workplace safety protocols. The preliminary injunction prevents the executive order from being enforced against federal contractors and subcontractors in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. Noting that the court has been “asked to wrestle with important constitutional values,” United States District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove of the Eastern District of Kentucky observed, in part, that presidential authority is not absolute and that President Biden exceeded his authority in issuing EO 14042.  The court noted specifically that federal agency requests to amend current contracts not “officially subject” to EO 14042 and its guidance indicates a threat of future harm to the plaintiffs, including potential blacklisting from future contracting opportunities if they refuse to comply.

Ogletree Deakins’ Affirmative Action and OFCCP Compliance Practice Group will continue to monitor developments regarding legal challenges to EO 14042 and will post updates on the firm’s Affirmative Action / OFCCP blog, with any additional news. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.