Citigroup to lay off unvaccinated office workers in late January, report says

Top line

Citigroup has said it will lay off employees who did not receive a Covid-19 vaccine at the end of the month, according to a memo sent to staff on Friday and got by Bloomberg, after becoming one of the first major financial institutions to tell staff that vaccinations would be a condition of employment.


Unvaccinated Citigroup office workers will be placed on unpaid leave on January 14 and their employment will be terminated at the end of the month, the company would have said in a message to staff.

Some employees will be eligible for year-end bonuses, but in order to receive the payments, they must agree not to sue the company, Bloomberg reports.

A Citigroup spokesperson told Bloomberg that more than 90% of the company is vaccinated.

Sara Wechter, Head of Human Resources at Citigroup, announcement in October, the company would require employees to be fully immunized as a condition of employment, citing President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors and the health and safety of his employees.

Citigroup did not immediately return a request for comment from Forbes.

Chief critic

Some Citigroup employees criticized the company when it announced and outlined the policy last year. Ben Shittu, member of Citigroup’s HR technology team based in Dublin, Ireland, job a YouTube video in November because he felt “obligated” to respond and blasted the warrant. “For those of you who are extremely worried or feel like you have been abandoned by your managers, I would like you to know that you are not alone,” said Shittu. Post on LinkedIn on the mandate, which received nearly 700 comments. Some of the comments criticized Citigroup for failing to “stand up for its employees” and ask why employees who work from home need to be vaccinated, while others thanked Citigroup for keeping its employees and their families safe.

Key context

Biden signed an executive order in September requiring federal contractors to ensure their employees are vaccinated against the coronavirus, prompting legal action. Eight states filed a lawsuit to block the federal contractor’s tenure after it was announced, and a Georgia federal judge suspended the tenure nationwide in December. In his decision, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Georgia, R. Stanley Baker, wrote that the contractors could face an “extreme economic burden” if the order took effect, and asked whether the warrant fell within the executive powers of Biden. Biden’s three vaccine mandates have been the subject of legal proceedings, and cases over the president’s tenure for healthcare workers and large employers were argued in the Supreme Court on Friday.

Further reading

Citigroup Tackles Vaccine Blockages Without Jab, Without Warrant (Bloomberg)

Citigroup to U.S. personnel: get vaccinated or you’re fired (CNN)

Judge temporarily blocks Biden Covid vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide (Forbes)

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