Breaking News
LAST CHANCE for Cyber Monday SALE: Up to 54% off InvestingPro! Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

U.S banks walk tightrope of encouraging, but not mandating vaccines

Stock MarketsAug 16, 2021 01:27PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
6/6 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar//File Photo 2/6

By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall and Noor Zainab Hussain

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Big Wall Street banks have started enforcing stricter mask and vaccine requirements for staff, sometimes communicating them behind the scenes, in an effort to combat coronavirus infections in their offices while avoiding a fierce national debate about individual rights, sources at the banks and consultants who work with them told Reuters.

Specifics differ, but many big banks have tightened up policies or pushed back return-to-office dates from just a month ago.

Now, Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) have the toughest rules at their New York headquarters, where staff entering must be vaccinated.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) have not mandated vaccines the same way, but both require unvaccinated workers to wear masks and get tested at least weekly.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) will only allow vaccinated staff to return to its offices in early September, while encouraging other employees to get inoculated.

The widespread availability of coronavirus vaccines in the United States caused infections to drop dramatically from January to June, but driven largely by the Delta variant, the current 7-day moving average of daily new cases is up 35 percent, according to Reuters tracking data.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) & Co pushed back its return to office start date to October because of an increased risk from the Delta variant.

Behind the scenes, executive committees have been debating policies and how to express them for weeks. Although sources inside the banks say the majority of Wall Street's workforce has been vaccinated, there remains a vocal group of employees who do not want to get shots for health or religious reasons, as well as some who feel that any mandate infringes on their personal rights.

"It's, like, on a wing and a prayer that people are saying they are going to require this," said a senior executive at one of the large banks who requested anonymity to discuss high-level internal discussions.

Sending mandates through company-wide memos can stir outrage not only from employees who oppose them, but from politicians and right-wing groups that sometimes use big banks as political targets, the executive said. When new requirements have been reported in the press, some of the banks have experienced backlash, leading them to communicate changes more quietly, sources said.

Citigroup announced its vaccination mandate through a LinkedIn post. Morgan Stanley has stopped sending coronavirus policy updates through email and instead has managers communicate directives to staff in small groups or individually.

Morgan Stanley's policies vary by region.

There is also some risk of employees suing banks, either because they got sick at the office due to a coronavirus outbreak, or because they oppose mask and vaccination requirements, sources said.

Outside the financial sector there have been some attempts to sue, but judges have been siding with employers, said Jacqueline Voronov, a labor and employment attorney at Hall Booth Smith.

"The courtroom doors are always open," she said. "Can you bring a claim? Yes. Will it be successful? Most likely, no."

The banks are walking a fine line as they try to encourage staff to get vaccinated and return to offices, while avoiding backlash from them, as well as legal, political and headline risk, said Adam Galinsky, a Columbia Business School professor who specializes in leadership, decision-making and ethics.

Companies generally need employees to be engaged with their responsibilities, rather than worried about getting sick or caught up in fierce social debates.

As a result, it makes sense that the banks are quietly urging staff to get vaccinated and enforcing tougher mask and testing policies for now, but, eventually, Galinsky expects them to move toward hard line mandates for all staff.

"They are trying to find that right pathway," he said.

U.S banks walk tightrope of encouraging, but not mandating vaccines

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Ron Tippitt
Ron Tippitt Aug 16, 2021 3:17PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
such mandates are illegal under international law.  See the Nuremberg Code.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email