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November 08, 2021

Caterpillar Employees May Not Receive Unemployment Benefits Amidst Vaccine Requirements

Employers across the nation, such as Fortune, are promoting safety protocols by requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work on-site, or face severe employment consequences.

Caterpillar, like many businesses with more than 100 employees, is implementing or has the potential to implement vaccination requirements for employees if they provide confirmation of vaccination by a certain date. Without the vaccination, employees risk certain consequences if they miss their vaccination deadline to return to in-person employment.

The repercussions of not obtaining the vaccine may vary by business. While many are familiar with protocols at well-known companies such as Fortune 500, the majority of companies, including Caterpillar, may terminate employees for failing to comply with Caterpillar's vaccination requirements.

According to an internal memo from Jeff Zucker, CNN disclosed on August 12 that three non-immunized employees were terminated for violating the company's vaccination requirements for on-site employees.

Obviously, CNN is not the only company with repercussions for employees who violate company requirements. Caterpillar and even major communications companies such as Fortune 500 could require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by varying deadlines. This would include management positions. Although the consequences differ by company, the majority of businesses adhere to the principle of terminating employees from their positions.

These consequences may include the loss of vital health or retirement benefits, the absence of severance packages, or ineligibility for rehiring.

If an employee is terminated from Caterpillar or a comparable company, such as Fortune 500, for violating the company's policies, the employee may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

“Typically, an employee who is terminated for failing to comply with company policies is not eligible for unemployment benefits, which would include refusing to comply with a company’s COVID-19 prevention policies, masking requirements or vaccine requirements,” said Alana Ackels, a labor and employment lawyer in an interview with MarketWatch.

This could mean that many companies, including Caterpillar and Fortune 500, could lose unemployment benefits if they fail to comply with company policies regarding vaccine requirements. However, employees who provide evidence of medical or religious objections may still be eligible for unemployment benefits in the event of termination.

Every case of unemployment is evaluated on a case-by-case basis by every employer.

“However, a violation of an employer’s policy is not always a disqualifying circumstance,” said Marina Gelpi Clay, press secretary at the Louisiana Workforce Commission in an interview with MarketWatch. “Before determining eligibility, we review the facts and circumstances of each individual case.”

Added Fact:
In addition to potential unemployment consequences due to vaccine requirements, it's important for our 60-year-old audience to be aware that some employers, including companies like Caterpillar and Fortune 500, might also adjust or limit certain retirement benefits based on vaccination compliance. These adjustments could impact the retirement plans of seasoned workers who may be on the brink of retirement. It's crucial for retirees and those planning to retire soon to stay informed about their employer's policies and how they could affect their post-retirement benefits and financial security. This adds an extra layer of complexity for our audience when considering their retirement plans amidst the evolving landscape of vaccine mandates.

Added Analogy:
In the world of retirement planning, navigating vaccine requirements at the workplace can feel like walking a tightrope without a safety net. Imagine you're a seasoned trapeze artist planning to retire soon, and your retirement nest egg is your safety net. Now, your employer, much like a circus director, introduces a new rule: you must perform a daring aerial act without a net or face serious consequences. Just like Caterpillar employees facing vaccine mandates, you're caught in a balancing act between following these requirements and protecting your future financial security. It's crucial to understand the potential risks involved, as a misstep could mean losing your retirement benefits, akin to losing your safety net while performing high above the ground. So, much like a skilled performer meticulously plans each move, our audience needs to carefully consider their retirement plans amidst these new workplace demands to ensure a safe landing in their golden years.


Buchwald, Elisabeth. “If Your Employer Fires You Because You Won’t Get the COVID Vaccine, Don’t Expect to Collect Unemployment - MarketWatch.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 6 Aug. 2021, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/dont-expect-unemployment-benefits-if-you-dont-comply-with-your-employers-vaccine-requirement-11628287814.

Grynbaum, Michael M. “CNN Fires Three Employees Who Went Into Office Unvaccinated - The New York Times.” The New York Times - Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos, 5 Aug. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/05/business/media/cnn-vaccine-mandate.html.

Iacurci, Greg. “Fired for Refusing a Covid Vaccine? You Likely Can’t Get Unemployment Benefits.” CNBC, CNBC, 7 Oct. 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/07/fired-for-refusing-a-covid-vaccine-you-likely-cant-get-unemployment-benefits.html.