Fired for Not Getting Vaccinated: My Employer’s Happy New Year’s Present

This question came in from the blog’s Ask-a-Coach feature.

Question:

After being told for several months that our company will unofficially adopt a don’t-ask-don’t-tell stance on the OSHA COVID mandates, I received notice December 31st that I will be terminated January 10 if I don’t schedule a vaccination by January 4th.

If I choose to remain unvaccinated, how do I list this on resumes and answer the question “reason for termination” on job applications?

As you might imagine, I’m furious. I don’t mind vaccinations, but I resent being told I have to do something I don’t want to do. I’m an excellent employee and have near perfect employee annual reviews for the past six years.

Answer:

Unlike other terminations, being terminated for a decision against vaccination doesn’t damage you in the eyes of an employer comfortable with hiring unvaccinated employees. These are generally employers who aren’t vaccinated themselves or that have remote work options for employees.

On the resume, you simply note “separated due to a vaccination mandate.” Then, note your six years of near perfect annual reviews.

Because hiring interviewers believe performance reviews more than letters of recommendation, attach them to your job applications.

Before you decide on this course of action, give your medical provider a call and think again what you’re fighting for and against.

While there’s been a great deal of controversy concerning vaccinations, and you resent being told what to do, three truths continue to show up: vaccinated individuals contract COVID-19 less often than due unvaccinated individuals; they fare better, suffering fewer hospitalization stays and fewer death.

Additionally, those who contract COVID may find themselves the victims of continued problems. Here’s a post from a blog reader suffering from long-haul symptoms, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/12/long-term-covid-cost-me-my-job-is-there-any-hope/.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

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3 thoughts on “Fired for Not Getting Vaccinated: My Employer’s Happy New Year’s Present

  1. I’ll throw in a couple of comments on this very legitimate and good column.
    One: Your assessment “Unlike other terminations, being terminated for a decision against vaccination doesn’t damage you in the eyes of an employer comfortable with hiring unvaccinated employees. These are generally employers who aren’t vaccinated themselves or that have remote work options for employees.” is certainly a worthy note. However, and also, it can be the death knell for an applicant trying to go to work for a company that is either ‘on the fence’ or ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ on the matter. It demonstrates that the employee attitude might not fit the company profile.
    The other is that I believe your ‘…three truths…’ comment is exceptionally valid. Especially in a case there the person is just having an attitude problem about it, rather than a medical reason (I don’t find religion an acceptable value to refrain or exempt from being required to to be vaccinated – these days you can change your sexual identity on a whim, you surely can change your religion as liberally) a good job and work history is a wonderful thing to have, retain and preserve over something that someone’s just pissed off about.

    1. Hi, Dan, thanks, when I posted this one, I wondered what you might think, given your thoughts about those who don’t or won’t get vaccinated. I’m glad you liked it:)

  2. Lynne–wise, wise words, as always. Yes, think about just going and getting vaccinated and putting aside your resentment at being told by your employer to do it, because it will help you stay healthier and will help protect those around you.

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