Delta Air Lines requires new employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, but exempts current employees from this mandate, making it one of the first large companies to meet such a requirement.
“Any person who comes to Delta in the future, a future employee, will require the vaccination before they can sign up with the company,” said Ed Bastian, the airline’s executive director, in a CNN interview Thursday evening.
While current employees will be exempt, Mr Bastian said he expected 75 to 80 percent of the airline’s workforce to be vaccinated anyway and that he would “strongly encourage” the rest to do so. Unvaccinated employees could face some restrictions, such as not being allowed to work on international flights, he added.
Such decisions are difficult for large companies. On the one hand, requiring vaccinations for all workers would reduce workers’ fear of returning to the office and help the country achieve herd immunity, which would support economic recovery. On the other hand, it raises privacy concerns and could risk a backlash or even litigation.
In January, United Airlines chief executive Scott Kirby told employees in a video forum that he supported the idea, but added that the airline could not “realistically be the only company” to do so. Nobody followed suit, and United never acted.