Google employees with high hopes of returning to the office better make sure they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

With the seemingly never-ending pandemic –- recently intensified again with the rise of the fast-spreading Delta variant – a growing number of major American companies are now requiring that full-time employees get vaccinated before showing their faces around the office.

Last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a letter to employees informing them that the tech giant would require that anyone coming to work on its campuses will need to be vaccinated -- a policy it will roll out in the US in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months (get ready, Canada). 

“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” writes Pichai. 

READ: Canadians Working From Home Don’t Want to Head Back to the Office

In the same letter, Pichai announced Google was extending its global voluntary work-from-home policy through October 18. Some of the company’s campuses have begun to re-open to employees in recent months. Now, the company says it will continue to watch the data closely and offer employees 30 days’ notice upon transitioning into its full return-to-office plan. 

VaccineAmpoules with Covid-19 vaccine on a laboratory bench.

Google isn’t alone in its vaccine policies. Recently, high-profile companies south of the border like Disney, Facebook, Lyft, Microsoft, and Netflix (just to name a few) have mandated that at least some of their workforce get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

In an internal email on August 3, Microsoft – a company of about 100,000 full-time workers in the US – informed employees that it would require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors, and guests entering Microsoft buildings in the States starting in September. 

“As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, we continue to closely track new developments and adapt our plans as this situation evolves, keeping employee health and safety top of mind,” Microsoft said. 

In addition to requiring its employees to be vaccinated, Morgan Stanley has also taken it a step further, requiring clients to its New York City headquarters to be fully jabbed as well. 

South of the border, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that it is legal for companies to require employees who work in physical offices to be vaccinated. While the EEOC guidance was released in December 2020, many companies held off on requiring their employees to be vaccinated until very recently.

So far, Canadian companies have remained relatively quiet on the vaccine mandate front (however, the employees don't appear to want to return to the office anyway).

In the meantime, a heated social media dialogue continues to grow throughout North America on the issue, with those who oppose the move calling it a violation of human rights and freedoms. So far, some American employees who have filed lawsuits against their employees over vaccine mandates have been unsuccessful. 

As tensions continue to bubble at the surface between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated sets, it will be interesting to see whether some could be so passionate about not receiving the vaccine that they’d kiss a career in a company like Google or Facebook goodbye. 

On the other side of the coin, adding “vaccinated” to the resume could be the deal-sealer to scoring an interview with one of the tech giants.