Google employees in the US are reportedly unhappy with the company’s latest COVID 19 vaccine mandate that even requires workers to have their vaccine status shared with the company. The vaccine mandate is loosly in line with the US government’s guidelines that requires companies with over 100 workers to ensure their employees are either fully vaccinated or getting checked for coronavirus regularly till January 4. As a part of their own measure, Google has asked over 1.5 lakh employees to upload their vaccine details in an internal system by December 13 and ordered workers working under the US government contracts (directly or indirectly) to be fully vaccinated even if they are working from home. According to CNBC, nearly 600 Google employees have signed a manifesto, asking top leadership to retract the mandate and introduce a new one that is “inclusive of all Googlers.”
The mandate also puts more pressure on employees as several companies in the US are reopening from January onwards. Most companies, including Google, are likely to go forward with a hybrid work approach. Earlier, Google had asked workers to resume work from the office in October 2021; however, the date was pushed to January 10 due to rising COVID-19 delta variant cases globally.
Why are Google employees unhappy
The manifesto signed by 600 Google employees notes that the top leadership’s decision will have a substantial influence in corporate America. Employees also believe the mandate gives no choice to workers who are hesitant about taking vaccines. The author of the manifesto even called “[Alphabet and Google CEO] Sundar’s Vaccine Mandate” deeply flawed and “coercive.” The author argues the mandate violates Google’s principles of inclusiveness. Petitioners even oppose the idea of the company securing employees’ vaccine status.
“It normalises medical intervention compulsion not only for COVID-19 vaccination but for future vaccines and possibly even non-vaccine interventions by extension,” the document reads.
What is Google saying
In the internal mandate, Chris Rackow, Google VP of security, reportedly emphasised the importance of vaccines to minimise the spread of the virus. His email further gave a deadline (November 12) to employees who wanted to opt-out of the vaccine due to religious beliefs or medical conditions. However, the mandate notes exceptions would be granted on a case-by-case basis. Rackow claimed that frequent testing is “not a valid alternative.”
In a response to CNBC’s queries, a Google spokesperson backed its COVID-19 vaccine policy and said, “We’ve stated to all our employees and the author of this document, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running. We firmly stand behind our vaccination policy.”
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