Back in July, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that it would require all of its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are going to return to offices.
In a blogpost, Pichai wrote: “Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead.
“I hope these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind as offices reopen.”
Google then switched up its mandate following the Biden administration implementing a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine requirement for companies with more than 100 employees.
The company is now requiring all employees, whether they intend to go to the office or not, to submit proof of their vaccination status by 3 December. This is also a requirement for any government contracts working with Google.
The deadline for submitting religious or medical exemptions was 12 November and Google made it clear that the government allowance for weekly testing instead of vaccines was not going to be an option for its workers.
By and large, employees are supportive of workplace vaccine mandates, but a cadre of Google employees are not happy about this requirement, and they have been petitioning for it to be changed, according to CNBC.
The manifesto, which has been signed by 600 out of 150,000 workers, called on Google senior leadership to retract the mandate and create a new one that is “inclusive of all Googlers”.
They oppose the idea that Google has a record of employees’ vaccination status and medical information. The manifesto said that “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 document continued: “It normalizes medical intervention compulsion not only for Covid-19 vaccination but for future vaccines and possibly even non-vaccine interventions by extension.
“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.”
In the US, courts have confirmed that it is legal for employers to ask for this type of medical information from employees, so long as they offer exemptions.
A spokesperson for Google told CNBC: “As 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.”
The question will employees in other companies follow suit?