Carhartt is facing backlash on social media for keeping its employee vaccine mandate in place after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's push to require employees at large businesses to be vaccinated or get tested regularly.
"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," Carhartt CEO Mark Valade wrote in an email to employees last Friday, according to a copy of the message that was circulated on social media. "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."
The company – known for its working and outdoors clothes – "made the decision to implement its own vaccine mandate as part of our long-standing commitment to workplace safety," Carhartt told FOX Business on Wednesday, adding that "the Supreme Court ruling does not affect the mandate" that the company put in place on Jan. 4.
The move comes as the omicron variant continues to surge, accounting for more than 99% of new COVID-19 cases across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Carhartt said that it "fully understands and respects the varying opinions on this topic" but ultimately believes "vaccines are necessary to protect our workforce."
Earlier this month, the court’s conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. OSHA, however, estimated that the rule would have saved 6,500 lives and prevented 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.
"The Supreme Court's decision on the OSHA mandate essentially means that in this pandemic, it is up to individual employers to determine whether their workplaces will be safe for employees and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters shortly after the decision.
Biden, though disappointed in the ruling, continues to call on businesses to institute their own vaccination requirements.
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.
Carhartt has approximately 3,000 U.S. employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.