Judge temporarily blocks enforcement of vaccine mandate nationwide
As we previously communicated, we have continued to monitor the legal process to determine the appropriate response for BNSF as circumstances evolve. On December 7, a federal judge for the United States District Court in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction blocking the enforcement of the President's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors for the time being while legal challenges continue through the court process.
With this ruling impacting all BNSF locations—and considering BNSF's stance remains that the decision to be vaccinated is a personal one—we cannot continue the current path without more certainty about the timing and enforcement of the federal contractor mandate.
Effective December 8, 2021, BNSF has paused its implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. If you haven't acted yet to comply with the federal mandate, you are not obligated to do so at this time. However, while the ruling by the District Court in Georgia granted a preliminary injunction, the ultimate outcome of the federal contractor vaccine mandate is yet to be determined. It is still possible that the mandate, as it applies to BNSF, could be upheld in court in the near future.
If you were already vaccinated, submitted your vaccination status and/or submitted a request for an exemption, thank you. Outstanding requests for exemptions will still be processed considering the possibility of the vaccine mandate being enforced following the conclusion of legal challenges. Considering the lack of certainty around the mandate, we encourage you to continue to submit your vaccination status or request for an exemption while we wait for the court process to conclude with a final resolution.
If you began the process of being vaccinated and want to continue, you're encouraged to do so. A COVID-19 vaccine is still among the most effective ways to protect yourself from serious illness from the virus. BNSF committed to recognize those employees who are fully vaccinated and submit their vaccination card on the myBNSFcareer website by January 18 with $300 to scheduled employees and a half-day vacation to salaried employees. We will honor that commitment to all employees who do so regardless of the legal outcome of the mandate and will reevaluate if the mandate is upheld and the deadline for vaccination extended.
As always, we will continue to closely monitor the pending legal proceedings and provide all employees with additional details and direction as it applies to us.
Thank you to all of Team BNSF for your continued understanding as we work through this unprecedented situation together.Paused