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AU drops employee vaccination deadline after federal rulings

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:46 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A day after a federal judge blocked the COVID vaccination requirement for federal contractors, Augusta University suspended the vaccination deadlines for employees.

In a federal lawsuit brought by the state of Georgia and heavily citing the vaccination mandate’s impact on AU, Judge Stan Baker issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday against enforcing the mandate.

The injunction is not a ruling against the mandate but freezes its enforcement while the lawsuit against the Biden administration works its way through court.

READ TUESDAY’S RULING:

The mandate heavily affected AU because of its volume of federal contracts and the fact that vaccination is mandated not just for those employees working on the contracts but also for people those employees come in contact with.

AU said Wednesday it had suspended the deadline due to Tuesday’s decision and that AU Health had suspended its deadline for employees due to a similar decision in another federal court on the mandate for health care workers.

AU’s suspension of deadlines is effective “until further notice,” the university said in a statement.

Nonetheless, the university said it “supports a fully vaccinated workforce.”

It said employees previously impacted by the requirements who seek an exemption should still go through that process in case either requirement is reinstated.

“The past few months have been fluid” as the university has worked to comply with the deadlines, AU said.

“University and health system leaders have pledged to be open and transparent with our communications as we navigate these unchartered waters together, and that promise continues,” AU said.

In the lawsuit fighting the federal contractor requirement and filed in Augusta federal court, Georgia and several other states said federal President Joe Biden and the other federal defendants acted unlawfully in ways that include:

  • Acting in excess of their authority under the Procurement Act.
  • Failing to conform with the rules for changing federal procurement policy.
  • Claiming powers that, under the U.S. Constitution, cannot be delegated to them.
  • Acting in violation of the separation of powers and the 10th Amendment.
  • Ignoring the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
  • Violated the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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