Pimco, an American asset manager that employs eleven people in the grand duchy, seems to be unaware of local legislation. “Vaccination is currently mandatory in our EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] offices, including in Luxembourg,” confirms a company spokesperson. And if you refuse, do you risk forced teleworking, as the phrase “in our offices” seems to imply, or dismissal? “Sorry, Pimco declines to comment further on this matter.”
Even as a condition of returning to the office, Castegnaro says it is not legal. “The employer must ensure health and safety in the workplace. Regarding covid-19, the necessary sanitary measures are provided for by the Health Directorate and compulsory vaccination is not one of them. An obligation to be vaccinated would, in my opinion, go against the right of every person not to be vaccinated, when the law itself does not require it.” He adds that “whether or not a person is vaccinated is medical data, which the employer is not supposed to have access to.”
Eddy Girardi, coordinator of the Luxembourg association of bank and insurance employees (Aleba), says he is not surprised. “American companies often forget that this is Luxembourg and not in the US. The ways of doing things are not the same, they have to get it into their heads.” He has not heard of any other cases of “forced” vaccination, but only of incentives.
He advises the employees concerned to contact their trade union or Aleba in any case, even if they are not affiliated. A letter of formal notice could then be sent to the employer, “reminding them of the Luxembourg legislation”.
American companies often forget that this is Luxembourg and not the US.
Labour law issues do not directly concern Luxembourg’s Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF). But, “if we saw that it was growing and that many people in the sector were being made redundant, we might have to remind the entities of the laws,” the financial regulator commented. The organisation is not aware of any cases similar to Pimco’s.
Distinguishing between US and European offices
Other US financial companies have decided to impose vaccination, such as BNY Mellon. Asked about its employees in the grand duchy--250 in 2017--the bank says “we don't comment more than to say that where local regulations allow, vaccination will be required to enter our offices from 6 September.” This appears to rule out the grand duchy. “Reasonable accommodations will be possible for medical or religious reasons,” she adds.
State Street, which employs 650 people in Luxembourg, has also announced a mandatory vaccination, but confirms to Paperjam/Delano that this concerns “only the US offices”.
Originally published in French by Paperjam and translated for Delano