VF Corporation, the parent company of a number of footwear, apparel, and accessory brands that include VANS, Supreme, Timberland, and North Face, notified employees by email that as soon as January 31, 2022, they will be terminated without severance.
VF Corporation announced in an internal email in October that, beginning January 1, 2022, the company will require all office-based US employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Affected employees who do not secure an approved exemption by January 31, 2022, will be terminated without severance, according to a company official.
If by January 31, they [unvaccinated employee] have not received an approved accomdation, they will be separated from the company and will not receive severance.VF Senior Director of Corporate Affairs Colin Wheeler in an email to Outdoor Business Journal
“Associates who are unable to receive a vaccine due to a medical reason, sincerely held religious belief, or other exemption provided by state or local law can request an accommodation/exemption,” wrote VF senior director of corporate affairs Colin Wheeler in an email to Outside Business Journal. “If any associate does not have proof of an accommodation by January 1, they will be prevented from accessing our facilities and will be required to work from home, while they consult with their manager on next steps. If by January 31, they have not received an approved accommodation, they will be separated from the company and will not receive severance.”
The new rule affects only office-based US employees for now, but the company plans to roll out the next phase of its vaccine requirements for other US associates in the spring. Currently, no policy has been announced for retail employees.
Last month, an estimated 30 employees protested the vaccine policy of VF Corp at the VANS HQ in Costa Mesa, CA. In the courtyard of the office complex, employees left their VANS shoes with handwritten notes vocalizing their grievances.
“Nobody should be forced to decide between getting a shot that doesn’t work and feeding their family,” reads one handwritten letter. “You have loyal employees—we don’t deserve this.” Complex covered the protest at VANS HQ in December.
A number of companies announced their policies to employees before the holiday season, but as the days draw to the deadlines, there has been an uptick in conversation about the policies amongst consumers of the brands.
VF confirmed by email today that the vaccine policy discussed is still in place, but declined to give any additional comment about the number of employees affected.
UPDATE: The Supreme Court ruled in a split decision that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (commonly referred to as OSHA), charged with protecting workplace safety, overstepped its authority by requiring companies of over 100+ employees to vaccine or testing requirements. This ruling by the Supreme Court does not eliminate the possibility of states or individual employers from making their own vaccine or testing requirements.