Well before the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s authoritarian Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate, I quit my professionally and financially rewarding c-suite position after my company issued this coercive edict to its U.S. employees. I am vaccinated against Covid-19, so the order would not affect my employment, but I told the company that if I, as a top executive, were expected to cheerlead for such an immoral and anti-science imposition of brute economic force by the powerful upon the weak, I would have to resign.
I tendered my resignation from the pharma company Insmed Incorporated, headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey. It was accepted. In so doing, I forfeited what could amount to millions of dollars over the coming years.
That said, my decision was easy. I can comfortably afford to be unemployed. Other colleagues at Insmed I spoke to are not so fortunate. Some would even have to sell their homes. The economically weak are hurt by these mandates imposed by the economically strong.
Jabbed or Jobless
The edict was wholly optional on the company’s part, as it was issued before the federal government announced its OSHA mandate. Thus, even though the mandate is now history, the edict still stands. And my company went even further than the government.
Under the OSHA rule, employees had the option to get tested regularly instead of vaccinated. There is no such option in Insmed’s fiat. Barring an exemption, the choice is to get vaxxed or get fired, with no testing alternative.
Nor is there any consideration of natural immunity, which compelling data from Israel and elsewhere suggest provides superior protection. When asked about natural immunity at a “Town Hall” meeting, the company said, in response to an employee question and without supporting data, that even those who have had the virus should be vaxxed. This is from a company that claims to “follow the science.”
The stated rationale for the mandate? “To keep our employees and customers safe.” However, we know with certitude — despite what certain Supreme Court justices heard on CNN — that both the vaxxed and unvaxxed can acquire and transmit the virus. How then, does sending a vaxxed but infected sales representative to visit a customer keep everyone “safe,” but sending out an unvaxxed yet virus-free sales rep does not? It belies both scientific and common sense.
Even more egregious is the fact that the “get vaxxed or get fired” order applied only to U.S. employees. Local laws prohibit such mandates on the company’s employees in Europe and Japan.
In Japan, the company may not even inquire as to a colleague’s vaccination status. So U.S. employees are targeted while non-U.S. employees are protected. Thus is created a Covid caste system, under which those in the lower caste, American employees, enjoy fewer rights.
Derided as a ‘Science Denier’
The attitudes and views of my fellow executives towards the unvaxxed were patronizing and factually erroneous. They took the pronouncements of Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control as the Gospel Truth, and anyone who dissented was derided as a “science denier.”
Before the vax mandate was issued, the company polled employees about their opinions. I was present when several of my colleagues mocked the responses of their fellow employees who expressed reservations about vaccines and mandates. They howled with derision when reading the response of one employee who cited the Nuremberg Principles prohibiting drug experimentation on non-consenting subjects. Even though I thought the response was a bit over the top, the sneering condescension irked me.
Other executives bubbled with anticipatory glee about the coming prospect of getting their kids under 12 vaccinated. When I asked them if they knew the data concerning Covid risks to this age group, one retorted: “You sound like an anti-vaxxer!” In a private moment, away from the others, one of the executives, an M.D., quietly conceded that the risk to kids was very low.
After Insmed publicly announced I resigned because of the vax mandate, numerous employees contacted me. Some had health reservations; others objected on religious grounds. Still, others objected simply on personal autonomy grounds.
All expressed profound anxiety over how they would support their families if they were fired. They told me how much they admired me for taking a principled stand. I was deeply embarrassed by this, as I could easily afford to stick by my principles. They could not. They were the brave ones, not me.
Moving the Needle
Even before the Supreme Court’s decision, I learned that Insmed had, at least temporarily, granted all requested mandate exemptions. Although the edict is still in force and can be invoked at any time, no one has yet been fired based upon their vax status. That is great news, as the company has thus recognized that the health and safety of its employees and other stakeholders can be protected through less coercive and draconian means than mass firings.
Perhaps the seeming omnipresence of omicron among the vaxxed moved the needle on the mandate. Perhaps my resignation led to introspection about its nonsensical nature. And now that the Supreme Court has ruled, maybe the exemptions will be permanent; or better yet, the mandate will be reversed.
It is lamentable, though, that my former employer reached this rather obvious conclusion only after its “get vaxxed or get fired” edict, absent any government requirement whatsoever, caused the roiling anguish and distress that former colleagues shared with me. What a shame.