Sandia National Labs pauses vaccine mandate

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Employees at Sandia National Labs will still have to provide their vaccination status, but there aren’t any consequences right now if they are not vaccinated.

In December, hundreds of Sandia National Lab employees rang in the new year with a lawsuit against their employer. The lawsuit was filed after the labs issued a vaccine mandate requiring all employees to get their second dose of the vaccine by Jan. 4 or be let go.

And just last week, the day after their vaccine deadline – Sandia paused the mandate.

A statement provided by Sandia National Laboratories said, in part, "on January 5 Sandia National Laboratories paused enforcement of its mandate meaning the discipline process for employees who are unvaccinated and processing of religious and medical accommodations are on hold."

It’s unclear when or if the pause will be lifted, but new employees are required to be fully vaccinated. This comes as the country awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on the federal vaccine mandate, which requires all federal employees to be vaccinated. Under that mandate, Sandia employees and contractors would still have to be fully vaccinated.

When the lawsuit was first filed, an attorney representing the employees said they feel the mandate is illegal and unconstitutional.

"They’re hoping to get their medical freedom back. So you know, they love their jobs. These are highly trained scientists who many of whom, who have worked there many years. They are very specialized,” said Ana Garner, an attorney representing Sandia employees.

KOB 4 reached out to the attorney again Wednesday but have not heard back on whether or not they’ll continue with the lawsuit now that the mandate has been paused.