A former Citigroup employee says she quit over the bank's vaccine mandate because 'freedom was more important than a paycheck'

·2 min read
A cable car passes a Citibank branch office April 17, 2009 in San Francisco, California.
Danielle Thornton said she'd planned to retire with Citi.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • A former Citigroup employee says she quit her job rather than comply with Citi's vaccine mandate.

  • "We should all have the freedom to choose what we put into our body," Danielle Thornton told the BBC.

  • Citigroup required its staff members to be vaccinated by January 14 unless they had an exemption.

A former Citigroup employee said she chose to quit her job at the bank rather than comply with its vaccine mandate because "freedom was more important than a paycheck."

Citi earlier told its staff that employees who were unvaccinated for the coronavirus by January 14 would be terminated by January 31 unless they had an exemption.

Danielle Thornton, a 33-year-old mother of four who worked at Citi for nearly nine years as an operational risk manager, told the BBC she'd planned to "retire with Citi" and "always found it to be a good place to work."

She said that in October or November she received an email from Citi's human-resources department saying employees had until January 14 to comply with the bank's vaccine mandate or they would no longer be eligible for employment.

"I try not to get into the politics of it all," she told the BBC, adding: "I don't think it's right. I think we should all have the freedom to choose what we put into our body."

She told the BBC she and her husband had "many, many conversations about it" but "ultimately we decided that our freedom was more important than a paycheck."

Thornton didn't apply for a religious or medical exemption from Citi's vaccine mandate, the BBC reported.

She told the broadcaster that she contracted COVID-19 before shots were widely available but said vaccination "doesn't seem to be getting rid of this virus."

Citigroup declined to comment.

Sara Wechter, the head of human resources at Citi, said in a LinkedIn post on January 13 that the bank had achieved 99% compliance with its policy. "This level of compliance helps us create a safer workplace, protect your families and our communities, and ensure continuity of our business operations," she added.

The use of vaccine mandates by employers remains a divisive topic among employees. A December poll by Gallup found that 55% of workers supported vaccine mandates but 35% were opposed.

On January 13, the US Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the Biden administration to introduce a vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 workers. On Friday, a district judge separately blocked a mandate covering federal workers.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, some companies, including Starbucks, have decided to ditch vaccine mandates.

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