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Rantz: Amazon brands vaccinated employees, forces private COVID decisions public

Amazon's Spheres in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

At Amazon, employees are not allowed to keep one particular medical decision private.

Amazon is forcing its employees to brand themselves with stickers indicating they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccination, even if they’d prefer to keep that medical decision private. This move also forces employees to disclose if they have not received a vaccine.

The decision, which impacts all U.S. Field Operations employees, suggests Amazon doesn’t trust its own staff to be honest about their vaccination status.

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COVID stickers are coming to Amazon

Amazon confirms to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that starting early this month, fully vaccinated employees will wear a green sticker on their badge.

The sticker indicates the employee can work without a mask because they are fully vaccinated. By the end of the month, associates will be asked to upload their vaccination cards to an internal system.

If you do not wish to reveal your vaccination status, or simply do not want to take a vaccine, you will be forced to keep on a mask and go without a sticker. It’s like a reverse Scarlet letter.

Consequently, coworkers may ask them why they’re not vaccinated, prying into a personal medical decision when it’s not their business. Or, much worse, the Amazon employee may feel pressured into the vaccine, even if they do not yet need one or want one.

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Amazon refuses to answer important questions

An Amazon spokesperson refused to answer a series of specific questions concerning the enforcement of this policy. They won’t even explain why they need it.

Is management worried about the possibility that workers will be ostracized for not having a vaccine — even if they, perhaps, have a medical condition that prohibits them from getting the ones currently offered, or if they have religious objections?

Amazon won’t answer.

And why is it necessary for individuals to wear a sticker to prove they’re fully vaccinated? Amazon’s current system allows employees to upload their vaccine information into their employee app. When they enter the worksite, they show their green checkmark screen from the app. Then, they can work without a mask.

The sticker policy suggests Amazon doesn’t trust its own workers; that they will enter with a mask on, then take it off in the middle of their shift. Without a badge sticker, employees won’t be able to go maskless when they shouldn’t. What are the consequences for workers who remove masks when they shouldn’t? Amazon won’t respond to that question.

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Trust your employees

Some states, like Washington, force employers to check vaccination status. That is shameful government overreach. Governor Jay Inslee, who refuses to relinquish emergency powers, is forcing businesses to come off as distrusting of their employees. But not all states require this. Amazon’s policies are nationwide.

Businesses trust employees will show up to work and not steal, destroy property, or sabotage equipment.

Why can’t businesses, Amazon or otherwise, trust employees who are not vaccinated will stay in their masks? They’re adults and can make up their own minds on getting the vaccine or putting themselves at risk. Even if they were to lie, what’s the actual risk? The people who don’t want to risk infection will either get vaccinated or wear a mask until they do. Someone who isn’t vaccinated and forgoes a mask is still a low risk if everyone else is following protocols.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

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