Wells Fargo sent out an email on Friday notifying employees it would be asking all employees whether they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or not. And the survey is mandatory. It will be treated the same as mandatory training — meaning if it is not completed it could have negative consequences for annual reviews.
This particular email said the company has heard from employees with questions about safety in the office when workers return.
“To better enable our focus on health and safety in the workplace, beginning July 19 we will begin collecting vaccination status from our employees,” the email said. “This is necessary to ensure a safe return across the many different workplaces and employee groups at Wells Faro. More information will come from HR shortly. We have prioritized your privacy and personal choice throughout this pandemic, and have considered both carefully before taking this step.”
Wells Fargo provides up to four hours of time away per shot to get the vaccination. Employees are asked to “please protect yourself, your families and all of your colleagues at Wells Fargo by getting vaccinated.”
All employees regardless of vaccination status will be expected to adhere to the workplace expectations contained in the emails, it said.
“Choosing not to get vaccinated will not influence your ability to work remotely,” it added.
The company told employees that HIPAA privacy rules apply to health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses.
“They don’t apply to employers tracking vaccination status,” it said.
The company is going to use vaccine status information of employees to “ensure that we are making appropriate decisions to safeguard the health and safety of our employees, including understanding differences in vaccination rates in different locations.”
“We do not currently plan to use the information to enforce face coverings and social distancing requirements, but we reserve the right to do so if it becomes necessary,” the email said.
Employees who do not want to disclose their vaccination status are told they are required to complete the vaccine status questionnaire. However, an option exists to indicate an employee prefers not to disclose their vaccination status. Employees choosing this option will be counted as unvaccinated when it comes to planning purposes and will be subject to the same requirements as unvaccinated employees.
If an employee does not track their vaccination status, it may result in impacts to annual performance assessments.
The email said that completing the vaccination questionnaire is mandatory and expected of all employees — similar to required training.
“Failure to do so may result in impacts to your annual performance assessment,” it said.
One concerned employee told The Iowa Standard they’re concerned about the company’s end game.
“What are they going to be using this information for,” they asked. “They’ve already stated being vaccinated or not being vaccinated is not going to say you can work remote or not work remote. So, my question is what are they going to do with this information?
“And, if we give them this information about this piece of our health, when does it end? Does that mean now we’ve opened up the door for employers to ask about any kind of vaccinations? And then if it does, where else does it go?”