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Remote Minnesota worker joins lawsuit challenging Biden vaccine mandate

(The Center Square) – A Minnesota resident is suing the Biden administration in a class action lawsuit regarding the president’s executive order mandating employees of federal contractors and subcontractors receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

New Civil Liberties Alliance announced Tuesday that it had sued President Joe Biden, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, the Office of Management and Budget, and other government agencies and officials in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, seeking to block the mandate.

It is the latest in dozens of lawsuits challenging President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates.

Plaintiff Jon Gateley, of St. Paul, works as a Manager II at Okta, a federal contractor, the complaint said. Okta’s headquarters is in San Francisco.

“In an effort to comply with the Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate, Okta is requiring Mr. Gateley to be fully vaccinated and submit proof of vaccination, even though he works remotely from home on a full-time basis,” the complaint said. “If Mr. Gateley does not comply with the Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate and submit his proof of vaccination, his employer will be forced to place him on unpaid leave, followed by termination if he still does not comply.”

The lawsuit is seeking a subclass for naturally immune contractor employees and a subclass for remote workers, the release said.

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force said in COVID-19 workplace safety guidance it issued Sept. 24, 2021, that individuals working on covered contracts from their residence are covered contractor employees.

“[They] must comply with the vaccination requirement for covered contractor employees, even if the employee never works at either a covered contractor workplace or Federal workplace during the performance of the contract,” the document said. “A covered contractor employee’s residence is not a covered contractor workplace, so while in the residence the individual need not comply with requirements for covered contractor workplaces, including those related to masking and physical distancing, even while working on a covered contract.”

NCLA Senior Litigation Counsel John Vecchione said in a statement that the Biden administration is attempting to gain the power “out of thin air” to require citizens to receive the vaccine and that the Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate, which orders the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement the order, counteracts the regulation’s intention.

“The Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate ignores the language of the federal acquisition statutes and is directly in conflict with their purpose – to ensure the Federal Government has maximum access to the goods and services produced by the American economy,” Vecchione said. “This mandate will both curtail federal access to the economy and shrink the output of firms contracting with the federal government.”

U.S. District Judge Stan Baker of the Southern District of Georgia on Dec. 7 enjoined the federal government from enforcing the vaccine mandate across the nation. A federal judge in Missouri and another in Kentucky have also issued preliminary injunctions.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday will hear oral arguments connection to lawsuits challenging Biden’s private sector vaccine mandate and his vaccine mandate applying to health care workers who are employed by companies that receive Medicaid or Medicare dollars.

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