Goldman Sachs’ bankers dragged themselves back to the office last month, shortly before American workplace safety regulators weighed in on what employers are legally allowed to ask (and not ask) about their vaccination status. As it turns out, vague federal standards will allow Goldman to allow workers to go bare-faced in the office so long as they provided their managers with information confirming they had been vaccinated.
Previously, disclosing vaccination status had been “optional” for employees. That has apparently changed, as Andrew Ross Sorkin’s “DealBook” reported Thursday that the bank had sent a memo this week informing employees in the US that they had until noon on Thursday to report their vaccination status.
Bankers can log their vaccination status with the bank’s internal app for employees. Since employers can’t directly ask for this information, the bank will instead ask workers to fill in the date where they received their shots, along with the maker of their vaccine.
Goldman has also informed employees through the app that their vaccination status may be shared with managers and used for planning purposes.
“Registering your vaccination status allows us to plan for a safer return to the office for all of our people as we continue to abide by local public health measures,” said a section of the memo, which was sent to employees who hadn’t already reported their vaccination status. A copy of the letter was obtained by the YT.
One of the NYT’s “expert” sources explained that Goldman can share vaccination status “with certain individuals if it’s relevant to the individual’s responsibilities, but they can’t share for no reason,,” according to Jessica Kuester, who specializes in benefits at the law firm Ogletree Deakins.
Another source who identified himself as the CEO of the “Society for Human Resource Management” said that “it’s important to have data to make data-informed decisions…” He acknowledged that some may “grimace” at the idea of employers pushing for information like vaccine status.
Goldman has roughly 20K employees based in the US at its New York headquarters and in other cities such as San Francisco and Dallas.
Companies across the US are trying to find out how many workers are vaccinated ahead of full office reopenings. They have conducted surveys and given out cash rewards, mimicking strategies embraced by state governments, as the Biden Administration scrambles to meet its goal of having 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4. Though as things stand, it looks like the US is going to miss that target.
No word yet on whether Goldman workers will receive any kind of compensation for getting vaccinated. But seeing as the bank largely skipped bonus compensation offered to junior employees by other banks, we suspect junior bankers who comply will be doing so mostly out of the goodness of their hearts – and their unwillingness to lose their jobs.