According to a report from The Oregonian, Nike will begin firing unvaccinated employees this weekend. The company has had a vaccine mandate in place since October. Those who have not received any sort of medical or religious exemption will be fired on Saturday, Jan. 15.
Nike’s approach to the vaccine mandate may be met with some resistance from employees and legal, but many legal scholars believe that private employers can adopt government mandates regardless of the court ruling.
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Although the company is set to fire unvaccinated employees this upcoming weekend, Nike did send a warning email to those unvaccinated employees. “You failed to complete the verification process and our records show that you do not have an approved exemption. As a result, you are not in compliance with the policy, and your employment is scheduled to be terminated on Saturday, January 15, 2022,” reads an email sent to a Nike employee last week.
Originally, Nike expected to have employees back in the office on Jan. 10 on a hybrid schedule, but due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, those plans fell through. “We do believe over time that with innovation and a strong brand, we want to go to a hybrid model,” Nike CEO John Donahoe stated in a call last month. “As you know, in the United States, we have mandated vaccines and have a very high response rate to that. So we’re ready to come back in a hybrid work environment when that’s safe,” he continued.
Based on The Oregonian’s report, about 120 Nike employees have objected to the mandates, but it’s unclear how many of those employees are vaccinated.