Multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley announced a firm pro-vaccination stance on June 22, 2021. The company informed all staff in its New York and Westchester headquarters that vaccination against COVID-19 would be required for all in-office staff, effective July 1 in metropolitan New York and July 12 in other offices. The requirement would also apply to any clients or visitors to those locations.

The company’s firm “vaccination required” stance is centered around Morgan Stanley’s plan to lift all masking and distancing requirements in its offices, as several other large office-centric companies have done. Any employee who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of reason or “exemption,” will be required to continue working remotely for their own safety and that of their coworkers.

Despite general national debate about employers being allowed to demand medical information on their employees, Morgan Stanley staff will be required to sign documentation attesting that they have been vaccinated. Employees of other companies have taken such requirements to court, but so far, judges have dismissed these cases. There is over a century of legal precedent for employers, educators, and housing organizations to be allowed to require vaccination in the interest of public safety.

The topic of vast white-collar work-forces returning to packed offices and close quarters has been the topic of a lot of news lately. Amazon, for instance, backpedaled on its soft promises to move as much as two-thirds of its work force to permanent remote work. Microsoft, on the other hand, is taking steps towards establishing a massive permanent remote work force.

In the international banking field, Morgan Stanley competitors Blackstone and Goldman Sachs have both already established rules around vaccines – Blackstone requires vaccines for any employee returning to full-time office work, and Goldman Sachs requires full disclosure of vaccination status for all employees.

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