Do You Ask Job Candidates If They're Vaccinated?

Candidates who are turned down for a job and told it is because they won't receive the vaccine can file a discrimination lawsuit.

Good morning! .

Here are today’s highlights:

  • Taking the Rinseroo to $2 million in sales.

  • United Airlines says its vaccine mandate is working.

  • The man who created the Kind bar is back with a new startup.


Chris Herd, a tech entrepreneur who was preaching the virtues of working remotely before the pandemic, says it’s really about access to talent: “In Herd’s vision, which he calls a remote-first strategy, relevant teams gather less frequently—he suggests once a month as a good interval—in varying locations that suit the work that’s being done. Because these meetings are relatively infrequent, there’s no need for employees to live in the same region. He used his own company as an example to illustrate this point. ‘We are all over the place: we have people in Belgium and the U.K., in the U.S. from the East Coast to the West,’ he said. ‘Our tech team is meeting in New York next week. Our sales team is meeting in London the week after.’”

  • “He even imagines a future in which specialized resorts will arise in locations conducive to brainstorming or strategy formation, where teams will work with the help of professional on-site facilitators.”

  • “These semi-frequent off-site gatherings might sound expensive to those steeped in the office-as-factory mind-set, but, Herd suggested, they’re cheaper than maintaining a permanent space for everyone ...”

  • “The bigger advantage of Herd’s approach, however, is that it significantly increases the size of the pool of potential hires. ‘A remote-first company can access the best talent in the world,’ he said.’” READ FIRST


Should you ask job candidates if they are vaccinated? “If you have a mandate in place, you likely want to know whether you will have to accommodate a new employee who isn't vaccinated. While it's fine to ask about a person's vaccination status, you can't make your hiring decision based on that person's status alone. If a candidate is turned down for a job, and is told it is because he or she won't receive the vaccine, they can file a discrimination lawsuit. It is illegal both under federal and state laws to discriminate against an employee based on his or her medical condition with regard to employment decisions.”

  • “It is, however, difficult for applicants to prove that a company didn't hire them because of a health condition, says Jared Pope, HR law specialist CEO of Work Shield, a Dallas-based HR software company.”

  • “If you do decide to pass on candidates after having a conversation about their vaccination status, be cordial. Thank them for applying and let them know that you'll keep them in mind should a position open up that would be a better fit.”

  • “An even better idea? Don't ask at all. Talk about the company's policy regarding vaccines during the interview process. Let the candidate know if any exceptions can be made if they choose to move forward.”

  • “Down the line, you can require proof of vaccination, he adds.” READ MORE

United says its mandate is working—as it prepares to fire 593 employees: “United in August said it would require all of its 67,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated—the first major U.S. airline and one of the first large U.S. companies to do so. Now the Sept. 27 deadline has passed, and while most of the airline’s employees complied, United is starting the process of firing 593 employees who didn’t get the shots, company officials said. Those workers can still save their jobs if they opt to get vaccinated in the coming days before their official termination meetings ...”

  • “‘We know for some, that decision was a reluctant one,’ United Chief Executive Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart wrote in a letter to employees Tuesday. ‘But there’s no doubt in our minds that some of you will have avoided a future hospital stay—or even death—because you got vaccinated.’”

  • “Six United employees sued the airline last week in federal court in Texas, alleging that by only offering unpaid leave, the company was discriminating against employees who have a religious objection to receiving the vaccine, or who qualify for accommodations on medical grounds.”

  • “The airline is disputing the lawsuit, and a hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8.” READ MORE

Thousands of New York health care workers got vaccinated ahead of the deadline: “As the vaccination mandate went into full effect on Monday, 92 percent of the state’s more than 650,000 hospital and nursing home workers had received at least one vaccine dose, state officials said. That was a significant increase from a week ago, when 82 percent of the state’s nursing home workers and at least 84 percent of hospital workers had received at least one dose. The jump in vaccinations in the days before the deadline gave New York one of the highest rates of vaccination among health care workers nationally.”

  • “It was also a positive sign that President Biden’s planned federal vaccination mandate for most health care workers might buoy rates nationwide.” READ MORE


The founder of Kind is launching a Mexican food company: “Somos, which means ‘we are’ in Spanish, is accepting wholesale orders from grocery stores and retailers now, with the expectation that its range of rice, beans, salsas, chips and plant-based entrees will reach shelves by January. The company’s e-commerce site starts selling its chips and salsas Tuesday.”

  • “Somos’ lineup doesn’t include any meat, gluten or genetically modified ingredients, taking a page from Kind’s playbook.”

  • “Lubetzky founded the snack company in 2004, touting its bars as healthier than those of the competition. Last year, Snickers maker Mars bought Kind North America in a deal that reportedly valued it at roughly $5 billion.” READ MORE

How the Rinseroo went from beach-house epiphany to $2 million in 2021 sales: “When Lisa Lane introduced a portable slip-on faucet extender in 2019 called the Rinseroo—it fits sink or tub faucets and helps with tasks like hosing down your dog—she expected a gradual climb to profitability on the sluggish trajectory shared by most small businesses. Six months later the 56-year-old veteran of medical marketing positions was turning a profit from her New Jersey home.”

  • “She logged long evenings and weekends researching how to craft effective Amazon listings and develop the product. ‘I learned everything I really needed to know from The Mom Inventor’s Handbook,’ she says.”

  • “‘We had a lot of infringers—they would literally copy our exact listing and use the images of me and my dog,’ she says. An even bigger problem was that the copycats’ quality was inferior, so Rinseroo started getting bad reviews.”

  • “The solution was to hire a company called Red Points to chase down the scammers. ‘They took down 6,000 infringers in one year,’ she says.” READ MORE


Steve Krull’s Marketing Minute: Where should you spend first? On your site or on your ads? “Let’s assume  you have a limited budget, which is almost always the case, and need to make a choice to begin driving new opportunities. Let’s also assume that your website could use some work, which again is often the case. If I may, your best route is likely determined by whether you are in the business-to-consumer space or the business-to-business space.”

  • “B2B is generally a more considered purchase that requires a longer lead time and more information to close a sale. No one is going to impulse buy a $100,000 per year piece of software, so a flashy website is less of an issue.'” READ MORE


Covid shutdowns in Vietnam are causing huge problems for retailers: “The crisis in Vietnam, which has grown in recent years to become the second-biggest supplier of apparel and footwear to the United States after China, is the latest curveball to be tossed at the retail industry, which has been battered by the pandemic. Vietnam made it through the first part of the pandemic relatively unscathed, but now the Delta variant of the coronavirus is on a rampage, highlighting the uneven distribution of vaccines globally and the perils that new outbreaks pose to the world’s economy.”

  • “Many retailers moved their manufacturing to the country from China over the past decade because of rising costs.”

  • “‘At this point, we have factories in 100 percent lockdown,’ Michael Preysman, Everlane’s chief executive, said in an interview. ‘Do we fly things over? Do we move things? Do we adjust in the factory? It’s a nonstop game of Tetris.’”

  • “‘You have to live in a new normal where the stability of 2019 doesn’t come back for three to five years,’ he said. ‘This is going to take a long time to sort out.” READ MORE


Consumer confidence fell in September for the third consecutive month: “In September, concerns about the state of the economy and short-term growth prospects deepened, while spending intentions for homes, autos and major appliances all retreated again, Ms. Franco said. Short-term inflation concerns eased somewhat but remained elevated, she said. The present-situation index, which reflects consumers’ assessment of current business and labor-market conditions, fell to 143.4 in September from 148.9 in August. The expectations index, which gauges short-term outlook for income, business and labor-market conditions, decreased to 86.6 from 92.8 the previous month.”

  • “‘Consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending going forward,’ she said.” READ MORE

What happened to the widely predicted eviction tsunami? “In major metropolitan areas, the number of eviction filings has dropped or remained flat since the Supreme Court struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on Aug. 26, according to experts and data collected by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. In cities around the country, including Cleveland, Memphis, Charleston and Indianapolis, eviction filings are well below their pre-pandemic levels. Housing and eviction experts offered a mix of guesses about why an expected onslaught of evictions has not yet materialized, including that the wave could still be coming.”

  • “The pace at which courts handle cases varies widely across the country, and some courts may be severely backlogged.”

  • “‘I think it’s too early to declare decisively that this isn’t happening,” said Peter Hepburn, a research fellow at the Eviction Lab, which tracks cases in 31 cities and six states around the country.” READ MORE

Harvard Business School has gone virtual because of an outbreak of breakthrough Covid cases: “The move to remote instruction for all first-year courses and some second-year courses will run until at least Oct. 3, the school said, and comes about a month after the start of classes. It is one of the first instances of a major university halting some in-person instruction this fall and signifies the challenges that schools, which have traditionally attracted students with their in-person teaching and socializing, face as they bring students back. Students at the business school accounted for two-thirds of all Covid-19 cases among Harvard students this month, according to an email sent to M.B.A. students late last week that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.”

  • “‘We are a complete outlier among Harvard schools in our numbers,’ said the email, which was signed by several Harvard administrators including HBS Dean Srikant Datar. ‘Our positivity rate is 12 times that of the rest of Harvard. These distressing figures are so high that they have attracted the scrutiny of local public-health officials.’”

  • “Several M.B.A. students at Harvard said some of the business-school cases were connected to a recent string of off-campus parties, including a Gatsby-themed soirée attended by hundreds of people and a large group trip to Puerto Rico in which dozens of first-year students took part.” READ MORE


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I’m a Freak About the Numbers: This week, on episode 78, Jay Goltz, Diana Lee, and Dana White talk about how they manage their financials—what reports they get, what KPIs they track, and how they make sure the sales team isn’t going rogue. We also learn of a new wrinkle in Dana’s growth plan. She’s concluded that—along with rolling out franchises and installing hair salons on military bases from Texas to Germany to Okinawa—she also needs to create her own software platform to manage her salons. “Cha-ching,” responds Jay. Plus: Diana explains how the new digital marketing privacy rules hamstring small businesses—and what they can do about it.

If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren