Carrier giant AT&T is the first U.S.-based telco to establish a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for management employees entering a work location.
“Since the global pandemic began early last year, our employees’ health and safety has been a top priority. We seek advice from medical experts, closely monitor COVID-19 trends [around the country], listen to employee feedback and constantly assess the most effective way to help keep people safe,” Jim Greer, assistant vice president of Corporate Communications for AT&T, said in a statement to CRN.
As the delta variant surges, the telco is taking additional steps to keep employees and customers safe, Dallas-based AT&T said on Thursday.
“We’re requiring management employees be vaccinated before entering a work location. In the interest of employee safety, we plan to begin discussions with our union partners to jointly align on a path forward for our union-represented employees,” Greer said.
AT&T added that it would make exceptions for employees who are unable to be vaccinated for medical or other reasons. https://2221c8b5c5062b22dfae5dc23e356522.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
The vaccine mandate for employees entering a work location or office follows a growing list of IT companies that are passing down vaccine requirements, including Google, Microsoft, and the carrier‘s neighbor in Texas, HPE.
In addition to its new vaccine mandate for work locations, AT&T said that it’s implementing the CDC’s new guidance for face coverings for all employees, regardless of vaccination status, who come in to work locations in areas with high or substantial transmission of COVID-19.
WarnerMedia, a division of AT&T on Thursday also announced that it will require its U.S. employees or anyone entering one of its offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19. WarnerMedia’s CEO Jason Kilar said that while the plan is still to reopen offices as of Sept. 6, there is “no expectation” for employees to be at the office at that time.
Others in the tech space have also begun delaying their return to office plans, such as Dell Technologies, in light of the uptick in COVID-19 cases as the delta variant spreads globally.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said estimates are that the delta variant caused nearly 95 percent of recent COVID-19 cases in the U.S.