Few issues are as polarizing as vaccine mandates — especially for the growing number of employees whose livelihoods now depend on getting the jab. A wave of employers began making vaccination mandatory this summer, and the list keeps growing — and yes, these mandates are legal.
According to guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a memo to employees in July that updated the company’s policy. It stated that Google was requiring anyone coming to work on company campuses had to be vaccinated. The policy was rolled out in the U.S. throughout the summer and was expanded to other regions into the fall. The company extended its global voluntary work-from-home policy, but that extension expired on Oct. 18.
The memo read, in part: “We are excited that we’ve started to re-open our campuses and encourage Googlers who feel safe coming to sites that have already opened to continue doing so… I hope these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind as offices reopen. Seeing Googlers together in the offices these past few weeks filled me with optimism, and I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead.”
Modern Money Etiquette: Can You Ask Your Co-Worker If They Are Vaccinated?
Another Silicon Valley giant announced its own mandatory vaccination policy in late July right on the heels of Google, according to CNN.
“As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our U.S. campuses to be vaccinated,” Lori Goler, Facebook’s VP of people said in a statement to CNN. “We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves,” she added.
Facebook Stock: Is It a Good Buy Right Now?
As of Aug. 2, all employees working in Lyft’s offices are required to be vaccinated, CNN reported, citing an email that Lyft CEO Logan Green sent to employees.
The email also noted that, in addition, the majority of the company’s U.S. employees would now return to the office on February 2, 2022, a six-month extension from their original return-to-office date. It’s important to note, however, that the mandate is for office workers only — neither Lyft nor Uber require their drivers to get vaccinated.
Netflix was the first major studio to implement a blanket policy mandating vaccinations for the casts of all of its U.S. productions, as well as those who come into contact with them on set.
In July, the new return-to-work protocols agreed upon by the Hollywood unions and major studios gave producers “the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A (which consists of the actors and those who come in close proximity to them) on a production-by-production basis,” according to Deadline. Shortly after that announcement, Netflix expanded its vaccine mandate to include all of its office employees, as well as all visitors to its offices, according to Variety.
Union Square Hospitality Group
Danny Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group — which includes Shake Shack — told CNBC that the group will require indoor diners and drinkers at its restaurants to show they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. The mandate also applies to current employees and new hires.
The group’s website has a statement that reads: “In an effort to keep our community safe, from Sept. 7, 2021, forward, we will require all guests over the age of 12 to show proof that they are fully vaccinated. Our teams are required to be fully vaccinated as well.”
“This is the most logical thing I’ve ever seen,” Meyer told CNBC. “I’m not a scientist, but I know how to read data and what I see is that this is a crisis of people who have not been vaccinated, and I feel strong responsibility, on our part as business leaders, to take care of our team and our guests, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Amtrak originally required new hires to get vaccinated but gave existing employees the option of submitting to weekly testing. The company updated its policy, however, and its website now reads, “Since we believe the vaccine offers the best way to keep our employees and customers safe, Amtrak is requiring that all employees get vaccinated.” Amtrak employs roughly 17,500 people.
On Oct. 28, The New York Times reported that Citigroup had become the first big U.S. bank to make vaccination mandatory for all its employees. As an organization that does business with the federal government, it must comply with President Biden’s executive order requiring vaccination, but it also cited the overwhelming data and science that shows vaccines are safe and effective. The Times also quoted representatives of the financial giant as saying they will consider requests for religious and other exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
Most recently, Ford joined the list of industry giants that are requiring their employees to get the vaccine — but the mandate applies only to Ford’s 32,000 salaried employees. According to a CNBC report from Nov. 3, the ruling does not apply to factory workers, Ford Credit employees, or any of the 57,000 Ford employees who are represented by the United Auto Workers union (UAW).
More From GOBankingRates
- 5 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About Social Security
- 10 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security Early
- How To Use a Credit Card Like a Pro This Holiday Season
- Should You Refinance Now With the Low Mortgage Rates?
Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy contributed to the reporting for this article.