Google delays office return; hundreds of employees formally oppose vaccination mandate

Google announced Thursday that the company has postponed its planned January 10 return to office amid rising cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, according to reports. The new timeline of the return has not been disclosed.

The move comes as hundreds of Google employees have signed a manifesto stating their opposition to the company’s vaccination mandates.

Nearly 600 employees have shared their objection to Google’s mandates on an internal company messaging board via the signed manifesto, according to reports. While the full declaration is not available to the public, CNBC has published several clips from the internal communication system.

The manifesto refers to Google’s mandate as “deeply flawed” and “coercive”, framing these protocols as infringing upon the company’s inclusiveness standards. One section, “Respect the User,” accuses the mandate of “barring unvaccinated Googlers from the office publicly and possibly embarrassingly exposes a private choice as it would be difficult for the Googler not to reveal why they cannot return.”

Representatives from the company told CNBC, “As we’ve stated to all our employees and the author of this document, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running.”

Google announced in July that it would require all employees returning to the workplace to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in concurrence with President Biden’s order that all workers employed at companies with 100 or more employees be fully vaccinated by January. While Biden’s protocol allows for employees to submit regular COVID tests in lieu of a vaccine, Google will not be offering their employees this alternative.

Google has stated that unvaccinated employees will be allowed to work remotely for the time being, but anyone hoping to begin work from Google’s offices where conditions allow must provide proof of vaccination.

Vaccinations will be required for employees who work directly or indirectly with government contracts regardless of their return to work status. This includes those involved with Ads, Cloud Maps, Workspace, and more.

By December 3, Google’s 150,000 employees were expected to upload their vaccination status into the company’s internal systems, whether planning to return to the workplace or not.

It has not yet been reported how many Google employees complied with today’s vaccination deadline.