Home News Microsoft Join Growing List of Employers Creating Vaccine Mandates

Microsoft Join Growing List of Employers Creating Vaccine Mandates

Microsoft Join Growing List of Employers Creating Vaccine Mandates

News Brief:

  • As the Delta variant spreads and confirmed cases increase within U.S. communities, a number of large employers have shifted course on COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
  • In one of the latest examples, food processor Tyson Foods announced Tuesday it would require employees at U.S. office locations to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, while all others would need to be vaccinated by Nov. 1, subject to union bargaining. “We did not take this decision lightly,” President and CEO Donnie King said in a memo to employees shared publicly by Tyson Foods. “We have spent months encouraging our team members to get vaccinated – today, under half of our team members are.”
  • Similarly, Microsoft confirmed in an email to HR Dive that it will require proof of vaccination from all employees, vendors, and guests entering its U.S. buildings beginning September. “We continue to review the situation on a local basis in each region/country/state where we work and will adjust dates and policies as needed,” a spokesperson wrote.

Responses from Tyson Foods and Microsoft followed those made by a growing list of organizations in a variety of industries, ranging from technology to retail to foodservice. On July 28, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company would extend its global voluntary work-from-home policy through Oct, 18 in addition to implementing a vaccination requirement for those returning to in-person work. Pichai further stated that those with “special circumstances” would soon have access to temporary work options allowing them to apply to work from home through the end of 2021.

Days later, Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon announced in a statement that the company would implement a vaccination requirement for all market, regional and divisional associates who work in multiple facilities, as well as all campus office associates. These employees will need to get vaccinated by Oct. 4, McMillon said, “unless they have an approved exception.”

Other employers have gone a step further. St. Louis-based healthcare system Ascension Health said on July 27 that it would require all employees to be vaccinated, whether they worked on care sites or remotely and whether or not they provide direct patient care. The company said it has set its timeline for completing this requirement for Nov. 12.

Each of the employers in these cases has indicated that some sort of exception may be made for those with circumstances that make them unable to receive a vaccine. Tyson Foods, for example, said its mandate will include exceptions for workers who seek medical or religious accommodation. Microsoft said employees who have a medical condition or other protected reason that would prevent them from getting vaccinated, including religion, would be able to receive accommodation.

Those carve-outs reflect updated May technical assistance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency said employers may implement policies requiring all employees who physically enter a workplace to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as those policies comply with employers’ duty to provide reasonable accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The trend is especially eye-opening due to research on employers that occurred mere months before these announcements. Law firm Fisher Phillips found in a late May survey of employers that 83% were not considering vaccine mandates, up from 64% in a similar survey conducted in June. Those who were not considering doing so cited reasons including worries about conflicts with anti-discrimination laws.

On the other hand, employees in an Eagle Hill Consulting survey published in February were divided over the question of workplace mandates, with 52% saying that employers should adopt vaccination mandates. A separate survey conducted between June and July as part of the COVID States Project found that 64% of U.S. respondents approved of federal, state, and local government measures requiring all people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Legal cases resulting from vaccine mandates may develop over the coming months, but at least one federal district court has ruled in favor of an employer that implemented such a mandate.

Elsewhere, employers have opted to reinstitute mask requirements for employees and customers. One example is Target, which has said it will follow updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and require that all employees wear masks while also strongly recommending that guests in areas with a substantial or high risk of COVID-19 transmission wear masks.

Eskalera, a Startup Led by Goldman Sachs’ Former HR Head Has Launched a Diversity and Inclusion Index

Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs former human resources head Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness,...

HSBC to Remove 35,000 Jobs Amidst Covid-19 Crises

HSBC Holdings Plc has restarted cutting as many as 35,000 jobs, three months after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to pause a long-awaited overhaul...

Genpact Offers Its Internal Skill Training Program Globally for Everyone

Genpact has announced Adapt and Rise, a role-based online learning platform that leverages Genpact's expertise honed from delivering real-world change for hundreds of clients....

San-Francisco Based Learning Platform Degreed Has Raised $32 Million in New Funding

The upskilling platform, Degreed, has announced $32 million in new funding in direct response to overwhelming demand for better skill insights, talent mobility, and...

Research Shows the Implications of Workplace Layouts on Employee Productivity and Overall Performance

As some workplaces prepare for the gradual return of employees and overhaul office layouts and seating plans, research has shown this could also have...

Employee Concierge ‘Back Technologies’ Integrates Automation Into Internal HR and Other Support Tasks

Companies are under increasing pressure to automate workflows and digitally service their employees, particularly in light of trends toward remote work. It takes an...

HR Strategies to Help Your Business Navigate the New ‘Normal’

No business is immune to the massive changes resulting from the health crisis. Organizations have proven themselves to be agile, and employees have demonstrated...

The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In HR, Hiring, Talent Management: Thoughts From A Top Expert

Michael C. Hyter is one of today’s best-known experts on inclusion and diversity and the author of The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career and The...

HR Expert Highlights Actionable Steps to ‘Make Real Change’ Against Racism in Your Workplace

Kyra Leigh Sutton, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where she teaches human resources courses...

Adidas Employees Want Company to Investigate HR Chief for Response to Racial Issues

A group of Adidas employees from around the globe is asking the company to investigate its chief human resources officer, as part of a...