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Report: Nike, Columbia Sportswear Will Fire Unvaccinated Employees

Nike and Columbia Sportswear are doubling down on their vaccine mandates.

According to a Wednesday report in OregonLive, Nike has alerted some employees that it will terminate them by Jan. 15 for failure to comply with the company’s vaccination mandate without receiving a religious or medical exemption.

Nike said it October that it would require office-based U.S. employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in line with its efforts to bring employees back to its offices by January 10, 2022. Nike later delayed its return to office plans indefinitely, citing the uptick in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and the latest Omicron variant.

According to Oregon Live, some employees in Nike’s Beaverton, Ore. headquarters reportedly received a message last week that said “You failed to complete the verification process and our records show that you do not have an approved (exemption). As a result, you are not in compliance with the Policy and your employment is scheduled to be terminated on Saturday, January 15, 2022.”

FN has reached out to Nike for a comment.

Columbia Sportswear’s chief human resources officer Richelle Luther told FN that all office-based employees who fail to get vaccinated by Feb. 1 will be placed on a leave of absence until they get the vaccine. If they do not get vaccinated, they will be terminated. The mandate currently applies only to corporate office-based employees and excludes retail and distribution center workers.

President Biden’s mandate that businesses with 100 or more employees must require vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 tests for employees is still pending approval in the Supreme Court. But many businesses have implemented their own vaccine mandates, as others await guidance on how to proceed.

Some companies, like Facebook-owner Meta and TJX Companies, are requiring booster shots for employees to return to work from U.S. offices, which are set to open in late March. Jefferies Financial Group Inc. is also requiring employees who enter offices to have a booster administered by Jan. 31 if eligible.

Earlier this month, Macy’s said it would require all store and office-based employees to submit proof of their vaccination status in an online platform by Jan. 16, a company spokesperson confirmed to FN. Employees will not be required to share their booster status.

Employees who mark themselves as unvaccinated will have their submissions reviewed and might be contacted to discuss next steps.

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