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Hershey Begins Firing Salaried Employees; Asks Terminated Workers to Sign Exiting Agreement

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The Hershey Company has fired unvaccinated employees who refused to comply with the company’s COVID-19 jab mandate or receive an exemption.

Hershey announced the COVID-19 jab mandate in August 2021, and it went into effect on October 4, 2021.

The company is the latest to enforce a COVID-19 jab requirement after the Supreme Court struck down the OSHA mandate

ABC 27 wrote:

According to a spokesperson, a “small number” of salary employees were impacted by the policy. The company did not confirm the exact number of employees affected or where they were based.

The policy is not believed to have impacted factory employees and will only cover salary employees.

Hershey’s full statement regarding their vaccine mandate can be read below:

Hershey is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our employees and our customers.  We believe that the best way to protect the health and safety of our employees, their families and our various business partners is to ensure that our salaried employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.  This is to reduce the spread of the virus and the potential for serious disease or death.

In August, we announced a safety requirement that corporate office employees would be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  The effective date of the policy was October 4, 2021.  To support this, the company sponsored multiple vaccination clinics and allowed employees to seek accommodations for religious or medical reasons. The company has engaged in an interactive process with our employees to evaluate when an accommodation with regard to vaccination status is needed or warranted.

A small number of individuals who did not get vaccinated were separated from the company.

Zero Hedge provided further details:

On the way out the door, Hershey is asking employees to sign a nine-page confidentiality and release agreement that would remove their rights to sue the company or talk about their experience.

Although their signature comes with a “special separation payment,” many have not signed the agreement and won’t get the money. Employees say the payment was determined by an algorithm and for some, amounted to just over two months’ pay.

By most accounts, working at Hershey was a great job. Employees at the Hershey, Pennsylvania headquarters and at offices in other states report higher than average wages and bowls of candy placed around the offices for snacking. During holidays, employees would get a big bag of treats to take home, although that practice stopped after Easter 2021. There is a sample room for trying new products, colorful graphics decorating the walls, and the products are more fun than selling insurance.

But it stopped being fun after months of human resources meetings that employees say included education about the vaccines, asking if the employee had changed their mind about getting the shots, and uncomfortably invasive questions.

Kim Durham, a payment analyst and sourcing buyer, thought she’d be okay securing a religious accommodation. She told The Epoch Times:

“I thought, you cannot question my faith. Nobody can question that.”

I thought this was behind me until September when I met with an HR representative. It was an interrogation on your religious beliefs. They twisted your words and tried to put words in your mouth. It was terrible. I was asked such personal questions that had nothing to do with religion.”

She was shocked, in November, to find out her religious accommodation request had been denied.

The Epoch Times interviewed two other employees in their final days with the company and anonymously reported similar questions.

Zero Hedge noted several questions asked:

Have you ever been vaccinated? Are your children vaccinated? How do you protect yourself when you leave your home? How often do you go to church? Do you take Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Tums, or Midol? If so, how can you say that you’re truly a religious person, because a lot of those medicines also have the same ingredients as the vaccine?

Several people were told the Pope is vaccinated, and he says that the greatest gift you can give your community is to be vaccinated as well.

One new parent submitted their baby’s birth certificate and other papers to set up insurance, and was asked why the baby had received vaccinations if the parent wouldn’t get the COVID shots.

“What does that have to do with me keeping a job? From the time we started this ordeal, we have had seven meetings about my vaccination status,” one employee said. “It was like harassment. I felt like I wanted to crawl under a rock when I was done.”

Employees estimate 1400 workers applied for a religious exemption and it’s unknown how many were granted.

Hershey did not respond to requests for comment or to provide information on the exact number of fired employees.

 

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