Mercedes-Benz USA, the U.S. unit of German carmaker Daimler AG, told employees in an October e-mail seen by Reuters that proof of vaccination against COVID-19 would become a condition of employment beginning Jan. 4.
The automaker said it implemented the move in anticipation of a separate U.S. government vaccine mandate that would apply to businesses with at least 100 employees, affecting some 80 million workers nationwide.
Less than half of the company's workers at U.S. import processing centers are vaccinated and many refuse to get a shot, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Mercedes USA in a statement said it had given employees 90-day notice to fulfill the requirement, adding that two thirds of its U.S. employees -- not including factory workers in Alabama -- have provided proof of vaccination to date.
"We expect that the vast majority of our employees will provide proof of vaccination before the deadline," the company said.