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Colorado-based VF Corporation announced in an internal email yesterday that, beginning January 1 of next year, the company will require all office-based U.S. employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Affected employees who do not secure an approved exemption by January 31 will be terminated without severance, according to a company official.
“Associates who are unable to receive a vaccine due to a medical reason, sincerely held religious belief, or other exemption provided by state or local law can request an accommodation/exemption,” wrote VF senior director of corporate affairs Colin Wheeler in an email to OBJ today. “If any associate does not have proof of an accommodation by January 1, they will be prevented from accessing our facilities and will be required to work from home, while they consult with their manager on next steps. If by January 31, they have not received an approved accommodation, they will be separated from the company and will not receive severance.”
Wheeler emphasized that the new rule affects only office-based U.S. employees for now. The company plans to roll out the next phase of its vaccine requirements for other U.S. associates in the spring.
“Given differences in local and national regulations, our EMEA [Europe, Middle East, and Africa] and APAC [Asia-Pacific] regions will continue to determine the most effective ways to ensure the health and safety of our associates in those regions,” Wheeler said. “As such, they are not subject to this new requirement.”
So far, employee response to the new regulation has been “relatively quiet,” according to the company. VF said that it hopes the advance notice of the new rule, coupled with transparency at the corporate decision-making level, will give all employees “the opportunity to make plans that are right for them.”
VF declined to specify how many employees are affected by the mandate.