An update to Bridgestone Americas, Inc’s corporate travel policy dated April 4, 2021, is an example of how employers may leverage their influence over individuals to make the COVID-19 vaccination necessary, even if they do not mandate it. The new policy applies to all employees who travel or meet with customers, but the implications are inescapable. There will be two classes of employees for the foreseeable future: those who have received the vaccine and those who have not. The introduction to the policy update states that explicitly. According to internal documents provided to PJ Media by a Bridgestone employee:
Below is a summary of key updates to the policy’s protocols, which now differentiate between fully vaccinated teammates and partially vaccinated or unvaccinated teammates. Also included is a helpful Q&A to assist you in having conversations with other teammates and customers about their vaccination status.
Many corporations have put travel safeguards or prohibitions in place during the pandemic. Most employers prioritize the health and safety of their employees for business continuity and employee relations purposes. However, if an employee’s job requires travel and he or she has an ethical or medical concern regarding receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the new Bridgestone policy will identify that employee as unvaccinated. This status will be evident in internal company systems and the behaviors required based on their vaccination status.
First, the company is offering a $100 “Vaccine Support Payment.” Other companies have decided to do this, but Bridgestone will be tracking that information in Workday, their enterprise management system. If employees do not apply for the payment, they must report their vaccine status to the Human Resources Business Partner, who will enter it into the system. According to the policy, employees may be asked to present their government-issued COVID-19 vaccination record as evidence of complete vaccination.