The return to office is rolling out, albeit with some delays. And some retail companies are taking a no-tolerance approach to vaccinations.
The recent uptick in COVID-19 due to the Omicron variant has pushed employers to reconsider what they will allow in the office. Some employers are strongly encouraging their employees to get vaccinated — Dollar General became the first major retailer to offer a financial incentives for employees to get the shot.
At the same time, President Biden’s mandate that businesses with 100 or more employees must require vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 tests for employees has been blocked in the Supreme Court. Even so, many companies have implemented their own vaccine mandates as others await guidance on how to proceed, which could vary depending on their home states.
Some companies, like Facebook-owner Meta, 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. In some cases, companies are beginning to fire employees who do not get vaccinated or receive religious or medical accommodations.
Here are the vaccine mandates that different companies have implemented across staff:
In a statement to FN in October, Nike said it would require all U.S. office-based employees to get the vaccine in order to support “the effort to bring people safely back to their workplaces.” Nike initially wanted to call employees back to its offices by January 10, 2022 but delayed this indefinitely in December.
In a memo sent to employees in December, which was viewed by FN, Nike’s chief human resources officer Monique Matheson said that that employees will no longer be required to return to Nike’s U.S. offices on its previously announced date of Jan. 10, 2022. The memo cited the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and the latest Omicron variant as reasons for the delay.
According to a report last week 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.
TJX Companies Inc.
TJX Companies Inc., the parent company of Marshalls and TJ Maxx, previously said it would require all U.S. home and regional office associates to be fully vaccinated by November 1. In December, the company said it would mandate all eligible office employees to obtain a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to return to work. The booster mandate applies to office workers and exclude employees in stores or distribution centers.
The company said last week that its U.S.-based office employees must receive a booster shot by Feb. 1 in order to remain employed at the company. The mandate applies to all eligible office-based employees and does not include store or distribution center workers.
“Receiving a booster vaccine will be a condition of employment for our U.S. Office Associates,” a TJX Companies spokesperson told FN in a statement. “Accommodations can be requested by those who cannot be vaccinated due to qualified medical or religious reasons. Of course, we will continue to monitor vaccine guidance and may make adjustments as we believe it is appropriate to do so.”
The parent company for The North Face, Vans, Supreme and Timberland brands will begin to fire all U.S. office-based employees on Jan. 31 if they have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19., a company spokesperson confirmed to FN earlier this week.
In October, VF said it was requiring all U.S. office-based employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1. Those who have not been vaccinated by that date and do not have a religious or medical based accommodation will be terminated on Jan. 31.
“Given easy access to effective vaccines and our desire to resume more normal operations in our facilities in the US, we issued a communication last October requiring all U.S. office-based VF associates to be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022,” the spokesperson told FN in a statement. “We have pursued this new requirement in the most transparent way with our associates so that everyone has the opportunity to make plans that are right for them.”
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.
Under Armour Inc.
Under Armour required all employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31, 2021 in order to return to campus in January and engage in company-sponsored travel. Retail and distribution workers are not required to be vaccinated, but those who are unvaccinated must wear masks while at work.
“The health, safety and well-being of our teammates as well as their families are our top priority,” said Tchernavia Rocker, Under Armour’s chief people and administrative officer. “We want to provide teammates with a safe work environment and, at this time, we believe that being vaccinated is the way to keep our team healthy and safe.”
Saks Fifth Avenue
Walmart said all its US-based corporate employees must be vaccinated by October 4 to return, according to a memo from CEO and president Doug McMillon, CNBC reported.
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.
“The health and safety of our colleagues and customers remain top of mind for us,” the spokesperson said. “We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to comply with federal and local guidelines.”
Employees who mark themselves as unvaccinated will have their submissions reviewed and might be contacted by a member of the Colleague Advisory team to discuss next steps.