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Goldman Sachs, McDonald’s, tell employees to get vaccinated before coming back to work

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 9/2/2021 Weston Blasi
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With the recent rise of the Delta variant, many major American companies are now requiring full-time employees to get vaccinated before returning to the office.

In the past few weeks, more employers announced plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for workers who report to in-person offices. Cases for the novel coronavirus continue to rise due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, which now makes up more than half of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S.


Video: McDonald's CEO Says Getting People Back to Work Is Hard (Bloomberg)

The government-run U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated it is legal under federal law for companies to require their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with a few exceptions related to other health complications, pregnancy and religious beliefs.

See also: ‘You are not a horse. You are not a cow’: FDA urges people to stop taking drug meant livestock to treat COVID

Some employees who have filed lawsuits against their employers over vaccine rules have been unsuccessful. These are “not very strong legal arguments,” Allison Hoffman, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, recently claimed. Some employees, like one sheriff in North Carolina, were terminated for refusing to comply with an employer’s vaccine policy, and were terminated. The lawsuit is pending in federal court, according to ABC.

Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google are forcing pay cuts on some employees who chose to work remotely.

Here is a list of U.S. companies that are mandating at least some of their workforce get vaccinated against COVID-19:

Amtrak

Amtrak is requiring employees to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by Nov. 1, according to the New York Times

“We did not come to these decisions lightly, and we understand it may take some time to process, which is why we are providing you with time to prepare,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn wrote to employees.

Apple

Apple has stopped short of mandating vaccines at its offices, but has asked employees to disclose their vaccination status to the company.

Reporting vaccine status is being done voluntarily at this time, but is being encouraged for both at-home and in-person employees.

“As Apple’s COVID-19 response continues to evolve, our primary focus remains keeping our team members, their friends and families, and our entire community healthy,” Apple said in a September memo.

BlackRock

BlackRock Inc. will only allow vaccinated workers to come into their U.S. offices during the company’s “re-acclimation period” in July and August, a company spokesperson told MarketWatch.

BlackRock changed its vaccine policy after employees said they would feel better if their colleagues in the office were vaccinated, according to a Bloomberg report.

Capital One

Capital One Financial Corp. has delayed its office reopening, but says when they do return to the office, employees have to be fully vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, we have watched the Delta variant tear a hole through the steady course of improvement in COVID-19 outcomes that we had been experiencing,” Capital One Chief Executive Officer Richard Fairbank wrote in an email to employees.

See also: Americans are creating their own vaccine mandates by cutting ties with the unvaccinated

Citigroup

Citigroup will require employees to be vaccinated before they return to corporate offices, according to a post by the bank’s human resources head.

Employees at the company’s offices in New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia “will be expected to return at least two days a week and vaccination is required” starting Sept. 13. 

Disney

The Walt Disney Corporation says it will mandate vaccinations for all “salaried and non-union hourly employees” based in the U.S. who are working on site.

“Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” Disney said in a statement.

Facebook

“As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our U.S. campuses to be vaccinated,” Facebook’s People VP Lori Goler said.

Goldman Sachs

Beginning Sept. 7, all U.S. workers and clients at Goldman Sachs must be vaccinated in order to enter U.S. offices. Unvaccinated employees may work from home, according to a company memo.

Workers must also complete mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing, regardless of vaccination status. In addition to the vaccine mandate, people in common areas like hallways, gyms and cafeterias must wear masks.

Google

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google sent a note to employees last week that the company will be extending its work-from-home policy to Oct. 18.

In addition, all workers who are planning to go back to Google offices in October must be vaccinated.

Hanesbrands

Hanesbrands Inc.  said Wednesday that it will require all U.S. office employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15.

“Our top priority throughout the pandemic has been — and will continue to be — the health and safety of our associates,” said Chief Executive Steve Bratspies. “We believe that vaccination is the best way for our associates to protect themselves, their families and their communities against the virus.”

Jefferies

Jefferies  Financial Group will soon only allow vaccinated employees in their offices, according to a memo from the company.

“We require that, after Labor Day, anyone who is not fully vaccinated should continue to work from home,” company executives Rich Handler and Brian Friedman wrote.

See also: Nearly 6 in 10 Gen Z investors — and 9% of baby boomers — admit to trading while drunk

Lyft

The ride sharing company has postponed its return to office plans from September to February 2022. Lyft CEO Logan Green says it will require employees to provide proof of vaccination upon re-entering the company’s offices.

Similar to Uber, Lyft’s vaccine mandate does not apply to Lyft drivers. Both ride-sharing companies have offered discounted or free rides to vaccination sites in parts of the U.S.

McDonald’s

Fast food giant McDonald’s informed employees at their U.S. corporate offices that they must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 27.

This rule does not apply to workers at McDonald’s franchises throughout the United States.

Microsoft

As of September, Microsoft will require employees, vendors and guests to show proof of vaccination upon entering company facilities in the United States.

“As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, we continue to closely track new developments and adapt our plans as this situation evolves, keeping employee health and safety top of mind,” the company said in a statement.

Morgan Stanley

Investment bank and financial services company Morgan Stanley is also making vaccines a requirement for in-person employees, but with a slight adjustment.

The company will also not allow any clients who have not been vaccinated to enter its headquarters in New York City.

NBCUniversal

Comcast NBCUniversal pushed its reopening plans from Labor day to Oct. 18 at the earliest.

“Recent developments, including the rise in regional positivity rates due to variants and breakthrough cases, and guidance from medical experts and authorities have led us to the conclusion that we need to alter our approach,” Comcast Corp. Chief Administration Officer Adam Miller said to employees.

Miller later stated that when the company returns to its offices in the U.S., it will require employees be fully vaccinated.

Netflix

According to Deadline, Netflix will soon require vaccinations for people working in “Zone A,” which consists of actors and in-person production staff. It’s unclear if Netflix’s corporate offices will also follow this reported vaccine mandate.

Netflix did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request to comment on this story.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Luxury department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue is requiring all in-person staff get vaccinated, according to a report from the New York Times

“We need to be much more office-based,” CEO Marc Metrick told the Times.

The Washington Post

Employees at The Washington Post will soon be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a “condition of employment,” according to Publisher Fred Ryan.

The company is planning on reopening all offices three days a week on Sept. 13. Contractors and guests entering the offices will also be required to show proof of vaccination.

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Twitter

Twitter closed both its San Francisco and New York offices in July as COVID-19 cases in those areas began to spike.

The social media giant previously said it would allow employees to work remotely on a permanent basis if they want, and require proof of vaccination for employees returning to the office.

Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods Inc. has informed its U.S. workforce that it will require vaccinations by Nov. 1 — the Tyson employs about 120,000 people in the United States.

The company is based in Arkansas, which has one of the lower vaccination rates of any U.S. state.

Uber

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote to employees on Thursday saying the company will require workers going back to its offices on Oct. 25 to be fully vaccinated.

It’s worth noting that this ruling impacts workers at Uber’s offices but not those who drive for Uber. Uber still has regulations in place that mandate masks for all of their drivers.

United Airlines

Leaders for Untied Airlines are asking U.S. employees to get vaccinated by October.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told employees Friday. They also added “everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

United employs 67,000 people in the U.S., and is the first major airline to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its workers.

Walgreens

By Sept. 30, all Walgreens corporate employees working at the company’s U.S. office must be vaccinated, representatives from the Walgreens wrote to MarketWatch in an email.

Workers can get shots developed by Pfizer  with German partner BioNTech  or Moderna  or one shot of Johnson & Johnson’s  single-dose vaccine.

Walmart

The world’s largest retailer said that all of its U.S.-based corporate employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 4, according to a memo sent out from Walmart’s president and CEO Doug McMillon.

The move impacts corporate employees and not front line workers.

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