Goldman Sachs has sent a memo to staff ordering them to report their Covid-19 vaccination status, ahead of a return to the office.
The bank gave its United States employees a deadline of noon on Thursday to declare whether or not they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
In a memo first reported in The New York Times, the bank said: “Registering your vaccination status allows us to plan for a safer return to the office for all of our people as we continue to abide by local public health measures.”
“While we strongly encourage you to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, we understand that the choice to get vaccinated is a personal one,” the memo added.
The investment bank’s employees in both the UK and US were told a month ago that they should be ready to return to offices by June 14.
The Goldman Sachs memo comes after UK company Pimlico Plumbers introduced a new ‘no jab, no job’ hiring policy in January. Founder Charlie Mullins told City A.M. at the time: “Why would we accept something within our country that’s going to kill us when we can have a vaccine to stop it?”
Until now, Goldman’s stance had been less aggressive, with staff told they could voluntarily share their vaccination status with their employer. Vaccination did have subtle benefits, however, with employees told they didn’t have to wear masks in the Manhattan office if they’d had the jab.
While in the UK the government is encouraging a ‘gentle’ approach to returning to the office, in the US, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made clear in December that businesses could stop employees from coming into the office if they refused to be vaccinated.
As it stands, businesses in the UK have no legal right to demand an employee is vaccinated. “No jab, no job could be a dangerous approach for employers to take,” said Kate Hindmarch, partner in employment law at Langleys Solicitors.
“There is not enough evidence to suggest taking the vaccine makes everyone’s working environment safe,” Hindmarch adds. “If an employer tries to force their employees to receive the jab or decides not to hire someone based on their refusal to get the jab, it could be result in employment claims, for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination.”