Red Hat Software announces company-wide COVID-19 vaccination requirement

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Red Hat Software company announced on Thursday that all associates and contractors must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

By Nov. 29, all employees must present proof of full vaccination against the coronavirus as a requirement for continued employment with the company.

“At this time, full vaccination requires that two weeks have passed since one injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or a second injection of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,” a blog post from Red Hat read. “This requirement extends to all U.S. associates and contractors no matter if they work from a Red Hat office, a customer or partner site, or are fully remote.”

The post also stated exceptions will only be granted in very limited circumstances.

“Thank you all for your commitment to Red Hat and each other. We have consistently said we would continue to evolve our support programs, safety guidance, and policies in response to a changing situation,” Paul Cormier, the President and Chief Executive Officer for the company, said. “It takes everyone working together to adapt successfully, maintain our culture and innovation, and to continue delivering for our customers and partners.”

Red Hat is an IBM subsidiary software company that provides open-source software products to different enterprises. It has its corporate headquarters in Raleigh, along with other offices worldwide.

Duke University School of Law Professor Daniel Bowling said those new regulations recently announced by President Joe Biden have several gray areas.

“The president just stood up in front of a camera and made a statement. He didn’t actually issue a mandate,” Bowling said. “He mandates that his agencies develop rules and regulations along these general guidelines.”

He added, “Are we gonna have federal agents going into everyone, go this contractors, determining and making sure people are vaccinated and demanding their papers?”

Red Hat says it’s developing a “privacy-sensitive” process for employees to submit proof. Vaccine exemptions will be limited. Employees who have recovered from COVID-19 and already have natural antibodies to fight off the virus will still be required to get the vaccine.

“Red Hat supports the view that vaccination is the best way to contribute to ending the pandemic, and we are demonstrating our commitment to keeping our colleagues, customers, and communities safe,” Red Hat’s CEO Paul Cormier said in his message to employees.

The company joins a growing list of large employers in the Triangle that now mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, including SAS, IBM, Citrix, Cisco, Duke University, UNC Health, WakeMed, and the city of Raleigh. Some have offered incentives to get vaccinated, others have not.

While big companies are making vaccine mandates more mainstream, Bowling believes it could backfire.

“It’s been interesting to see more companies adopt a stick approach than a carrot approach, particularly when we’re in a time of job shortage throughout the economy,” he said. “Also, the stick approach may have short-term effects on vaccination rates, but I think it’s gonna have long-term implications on the company’s relationship with its employees.”

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