Several hundred Google employees have signed a petition opposing the tech giant’s widened vaccine policy that includes compulsory Covid vaccinations for some staff returning to the office and working from home.
Google staff based in the US circulated a document asking management to retract a vaccine mandate and create a new one that is “inclusive of all Googlers,” and argued that the Big Tech’s decision will disproportionately influence decisions across the rest of corporate America.
It’s a reaction to Google’s updated vaccine policy, which requires more than 150,000 employees to upload their vaccination status to its internal systems by December 3, whether they are coming in to the office or not, according to documents first reported by CNBC.
Google’s updated policy also mandates vaccination for all employees working on US government contracts, regardless of whether they plan to come into the office or work from home.
The petition has been signed by around 600 Google employees so far, a fraction of its entire workforce, but as the company’s deadline of Jan 10 for a return to the office of at least three days a week approaches, it is expected to gather more support.
As well as the calls for Google’s leadership to change the policy, the petition asks employees to “oppose the mandate as a matter of principle”, and to not let the mandate affect their decision if they have chosen not to get the jab.
“I believe Sundar’s Vaccine Mandate is deeply flawed,” employees wrote in the petition.
“Barring unvaccinated Googlers from the office publicly and possibly embarrassingly exposes a private choice as it would be difficult for the Googler not to reveal why they cannot return,” the letter continues.
“It justifies the principle of division and unequal treatment of Googlers based on their personal beliefs and decisions. The implications are chilling. Due to its presence as an industry leader, Google’s mandate will influence companies around the world to consider these as acceptable tradeoffs.”
It comes after Biden’s government ordered all US companies with more than 100 staff to ensure their staff are fully vaccinated, or introduce a regular testing policy by January 4.