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Carhartt Faces Backlash After Keeping Employee Vaccine Mandate Despite Supreme Court Ruling

(Image credit: Stanimir Filipov/Unsplash)

Carhartt, a clothing and workwear retailer, is facing social media backlash after its CEO said the company would continue its mandatory vaccination policy despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that companies don't have to do that. 

As CBN News reported last week, the high court stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job. 

After the Supreme Court decision, President Biden said in a statement he was "disappointed" in the ruling, but he then encouraged states and large employers to still require their staff to be vaccinated anyway to "make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees."

Just one day after the Supreme Court's ruling against the OSHA rule, Carhartt CEO Mark Valade told his employees in a memo on Jan. 14 that the company's vaccine policy would remain in place. 

"Many of you have asked how the Supreme Court decision on the OSHA mandate for large employers will impact our associates so we want to provide some clarity," Valade wrote. "The ruling does not change Carhartt's mandatory vaccination program which went into effect on January 4th.  As you know we extended the vaccination deadline for both RCA and Madisonville Associates to February 15th. This date also remains in effect." 

"We put workplace safety at the very top of our priority list and the Supreme Court's recent ruling doesn't impact that core value," Valade continued. "We, and the medical community, continue to believe vaccines are necessary to ensure a safe working environment for every associate and even perhaps their households."

Based in Detroit, Michigan, Carhartt is known for its work clothes for laborers and outdoor clothes for sports enthusiasts. 

The retailer told Fox Business on Wednesday that the company "made the decision to implement its own vaccine mandate as part of our long-standing commitment to workplace safety." 

Carhartt did grant a number of accommodation requests for medical and religious reasons and said the vast majority of its workforce is or is in the process of becoming fully vaccinated, according to Fox. 

A copy of the company's email to its employees was widely circulated on social media. 

Some conservatives like Blaze TV's Elijah Schaffer called for a boycott of Carhartt. "Very bad look. Definitely should stop buying their products if you do," he tweeted. 

But another conservative commentator also noted Carhartt is a private company and can require its associates to do certain things to stay employed. 

"Carhartt is a private company. It can mandate that you wear headbands if it wants," Carmine Sabia tweeted. "If you do not want to adhere to its policies, quit. This is a free market. In the same way I do not want the government mandating what we must do we can not mandate what a business can do."

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