BOYCOTT:[JP Smuckers Co] Testimony From Smucker’s Employees
As of December 16th I will be forbidden on the Smucker campus and on unpaid leave until the end of January when the company will reconvene to see if I will continue to be an ‘undue hardship’. I have been on campus at Smuckers four days a week since June 2020. They did not deny my religious exemption but are failing to reasonably accommodate me. In a week they will be withholding my pay due to this substantial claim. Another problem is someone else who has my job title has been permitted to work remotely for the past 18 month, coming into the office four or five times. I immediately reached out to HR explaining how my current position can be done remotely, just as my co-worker has done for the past 18 months. I received a response in writing clarifying that my religious exemption has not been denied (which I already knew), but due to the nature of my role being present on campus they cannot accommodate me without undue hardship. I responded that I understood what they explained to me, but I was in need of criteria for how the company was defining undue hardship They answered that “company leadership thinks it is important to have an onsite presence” and “given what we’ve been able to support for the last 18 months is not our preferred approach and not sustainable.” (masking and temperature scans have been the only accommodations for over a year) This is a lie because I know and have email proof that some individuals were granted accommodation to work remotely until the end of March where the company will see if those individuals will be able to continue. The email continued “As it relates specifically to our exemptions process, the Company’s vaccine policy and decisions are carefully reviewed by a committee using objective criteria. The committee’s decision is not subject to appeal or further inquiry, but if you feel there is additional information the committee should consider that you previously did not provide, you may submit it for their consideration.” One would say this is retaliation for not complying with their mandate.
Over the past year Mark Smucker and leadership have created a hostile work environment, constantly harassing the unvaccinated with emails to enter our status and holding freedom from masks over our heads as a condition of getting the vax. The failure to accurately execute this has been stressful on all of us who are choosing not to get the vaccine. We were communicated that they will never mandate the vax in the spring. In September they introduced a company ‘expectation’ that we were expected to do the right thing and get the vaccine. That lasted two weeks until they rolled out the below timeline for all corporate employees:
-Oct 1:only fully vaccinated hired
-Dec 1: $250 incentive for all vaccinates and required for company travel
-Dec 15: all salaried employees must verify vaccine status
-Dec16: all US employees who do not comply separated
-Jan 4: all visitors, and contractors must be vaccinated to be on campus (includes taste-panel which my wife and four kids were previously part of. My wife is a trained taste panelist making roughly $400 a month but will now be reduced to only that which can be done at home, our kids will no longer be welcome anymore)
-Jan 25: Hospitality Day: always the Friday before Christmas break, a time where employees turkey bowl and have a free catered meal, now moved past the date of unvaccinated people being able to participate.
I have emails, texts and Teams chats where my managers have expressed great concern about how losing me will be a loss for the team I am a part of. I also have the video of interrogation where my vaccine history, medicine, prescription drug history, and children’s vaccine history were questioned. The harassment about how we will no longer be welcomed in any aspect or future here at this Company has been heartbreaking. This is wrong and has caused emotional stress, loss of sleep and loss to my finances which are the real undue hardships.