After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s executive order that would see companies with 100 or more employees enforce vaccines or be subject to routine testing, companies are facing a dilemma: move forward with mandates or scrap the policy.
Workwear company Carhartt has become a prime example of the backlash that businesses may face if they continue requiring vaccines.
Last week, Carhartt CEO Mark Valade announced that the company would keep its vaccine mandate that was unveiled earlier this month despite the Supreme Court’s decision, with exceptions for religious or medical reasons.
“We put workplace safety at the very top of our priority list, and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling doesn’t impact that core value,” said Valade. “An unvaccinated workforce is both a people and business risk that our company is unwilling to take.”
As a result, conservatives are calling for a boycott of the company, with some questioning the move due to the firm’s mostly blue-collar customer base.
However, the firm has expanded in recent years and has become more popular beyond its traditional customer base.
While current Covid-19 vaccines may not completely eliminate the transmission of the virus, it greatly reduces the likelihood of this happening, while also decreasing the risk of severe symptoms.
Additionally, research shows that employees and consumers both generally support workplace vaccine mandates.
Still, some companies are dropping their vaccine policies in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, such as Starbucks. The coffee giant announced a mandate just this month, but reversed the policy this week. However, it is still encouraging employees to receive the vaccine and booster.
This provides a textbook example of the struggle companies are facing with keeping their workplace safe. However, the politicized nature of the vaccine and Covid-19 in general has left many scrambling to navigate how to balance public backlash and workplace safety.