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Redfin Delays Reopening, Mandates Shots for Workers

Seattle-based Redfin has made vaccines mandatory for all personnel as it reopens offices, though non-vaccinated workers will continue to have a work-from-home option.

SEATTLE – More companies – including real estate brokerages – are requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before heading back to the office. Redfin announced Tuesday that it pushed back the reopening date for its headquarters and field offices – and when employees do return to the office, they must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those who haven’t been fully vaccinated will have the option to keep working from home, however, at least until infection rates go down.

Many companies’ return-to-work plans are being revisited as the contagious COVID-19 delta variant quickly spreads across the U.S.

Redfin told the Puget Business Journal that its offices remain closed, but its outside events continue. Real estate agents can still meet with homebuyers in person at a home. Redfin, based in Seattle, employs more than 4,100 people.

Related Cos., a New York-based real estate firm, also recently announced that its 4,000 employees must get vaccinated – at least one shot – by Aug. 31 or be fired. Related Cos. extended its mandate to employees beyond just its headquarters to those who work throughout its commercial and residential buildings.

Many companies are bringing back mask mandates too, given the updated guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Real estate companies are following the lead of other businesses. Microsoft announced Tuesday it would require proof of vaccination for employees returning to its U.S. offices. Google, Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Disney and more also have told employees they must be vaccinated.

“I hope these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind as offices reopen,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement.

Guidance published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that employers can require employees to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine and show proof of vaccination, such as a vaccination card, before coming onsite. But there are some legal parameters to follow for companies implementing such measures.

Source: “Redfin Pushes Back Office Reopening, Will Require Vaccinations for Returning Workers,” Puget Sound Business Journal (Aug. 4, 2021)

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