Citigroup will fire unvaccinated employees at the end of the month, as it continues to enforce a vaccine requirement that was announced by the company in October.
According to a person who is familiar with the policies and spoke under the condition of anonymity, the bank has given employees based in the United States the deadline of January 14 to submit proof that they have been inoculated against the coronavirus. The mandate states that workers who fail to comply will be placed on unpaid sick leave Jan. 15 and fired Jan. 31. The person stated that some employees might not receive year-end bonuses unless the staff have signed documents agreeing to not sue the company.
More than 90 percent of Citigroup’s 65,000 U.S. employees have complied with the requirement, the person said.
Bloomberg News reported the news earlier.
Wall Street firms, as well as other large employers, are sensitive to vaccine regulations. JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, has not imposed a requirement, but said at the end of last year that government mandates could make it “difficult or impossible” for the company to continue to employ unvaccinated staff. Bank of America does NOT require inoculation, but it has encouraged employees to get boosters or vaccinations and asked them to inform the company.
Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, in arguments on Friday, seemed skeptical that the Biden administration has the legal power to mandate large employers to require coronavirus vaccinations or frequent testing. Across the nation’s biggest banks, policies around in-person work, vaccination and testing vary widely. Citigroup’s stance, which is among the strictest, is being resisted by some employees.
“They’re not leaving people any choice,” Ben Shittu, a 37-year-old software engineer at Citigroup in Ireland, said in an interview Thursday. He has refused to receive the coronavirus vaccine, citing concerns about its efficacy and side effect.
Mr. Shittu said he had felt compelled to post a video opposing the bank’s policy after a contentious team meeting in November, during which his manager told employees that their jobs depended on getting the vaccine. According to Mr. Shittu, he has received a lot of supportive messages from his coworkers since then. Staff members have also begun to use private messaging apps to share their concerns with each other as well as the bank.
“What do I plan to do if Citi decides to fire me — I don’t think it’s relevant,” Mr. Shittu said. “If you lose one job, one door closes, another opportunity will always come around.”
The company spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Shittu’s concerns.
Vaccine policies and rising coronavirus cases have complicated Wall Street’s efforts to get employees back to their desks. Omicron virus is rapidly spreading and the country is experiencing more than 500,000 new coronavirus infections per day. This is much higher than any time during the pandemic. Banks like Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Bank of America have allowed employees to work from home since the beginning of the year.
Source: NY Times