Government Executive: Potential Traps for Federal Contractors with the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

“On September 9 President Biden issued an executive order that required federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He  also asked the Labor Department to issue an emergency rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any unvaccinated workers to produce a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week. There are many lingering questions about the details of the mandates and more guidance on the executive  order is expected on Friday, but one thing is clear: implementation will  be far from simple and contractors should take steps to prepare.”

“Contractors subject to either the executive order or the Labor Department’s upcoming emergency rule will have to comply not just with the mandate, but also be mindful of exemptions and accommodations for employees based on the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and be aware of Title VII  of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s requirement for religious accommodations…”

“The Takeaway

Constitutional or not, the contractor executive order is going into effect and will impact a significant segment of the federal contractor community, as the exemptions are fairly limited. The Labor Department rule will affect an even larger segment of the overall U.S. workforce. Every federal  contractor will have to become familiar with the process for granting accommodations, as well as the privacy requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

“Federal contractors will also need to be prepared for incorporation of a new vaccine mandate contract clause into new contract awards as well as inclusion of the same requirements in  modifications to contracts entered into prior to the executive order’s effective date, particularly through exercising options. Contractors should be prepared to identify any cost increases as a result of any such modifications and, if so, collect records to support any requests for equitable adjustment or claims.”

“Likewise, contractors should be attuned to contractual modifications that implement these  requirements. It is not uncommon for modifications to be “bilateral,” or agreed to by the contractor, or include release of claims language. Contractors will need to ensure that they reserve and do not waive any rights they may have to recover for increased costs…” Read the full article here.

Source: Potential Traps for Federal Contractors with the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate – By Todd Bromberg and Martha Vazquez, September 22, 2021. Government Executive.

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