Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Dressing

Casual Friday has killed the world. That’s my story and I’m not backing down. And as khakis turned to jeans, and jeans turned to ripped jeans, the world began chanting ‘but you gotta to be comfortable’. Well, why? Why do you gotta be comfortable? And today it all came to a head as my biggest client found himself yelling like a madman. Why? Casual Friday. I’ll explain.

Somewhere, someone decided, let’s have casual Friday, woo-hoo. Which then became lazy Friday-because hey it’s already the weekend. And pretty soon entire offices forgot what they were meant to be doing—WORK! Then Monday (always a tough transition day) became why do I have to dress on Monday? Also a logical question. Because If one can have no regard for the client on Friday, why should Monday be any different?

TGIF!

Enter me: I flew (commercial) to meet my client to work on our commitment of carbon neutrality (a promise I’m not sure he should have made), but I arrived at the airport to see the usual: slovenly software salesmen (I guess the product sells itself), adults in flip flops (something I still don’t get), kids boarding planes in pyjamas, and their mothers with lycra stretched across their bums. And yet we grow irritated when these same kids throw tantrum after tantrum. I mean, why wouldn’t they? It’s bedtime, right? And I can’t tell you how many times I am offered an airport employee discount because-even in jeans and strappy gold sandals—I look more like the original ideal of a flight attendant than the entire crew in their mismatched separates.

But today I’m traveling for work so I’m dressed…for work. Shocking I know, but this gets us to my client whose entire empire is inefficiency, under the aegis of cool. You see, here we are all too cool to be strict, too cool to demand conformity. And I wouldn’t care except it’s messing up my ability to do my job and save the planet. But alas… we are in service of comfort. Or so we think. Actually we are in service of ego: my client’s ego, and that of his employees. Because you can’t tell me he thought if I make work less like work, and more like… not work, productivity will soar.

But like any benevolent king who came before him, he wanted to be liked, to be seen as the non-tyrannical boss, to be loved and adored cause isn’t he so cool? Isn’t my company just so cool? Look—we can wear jeans! Well he is cool, until he explodes like Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men. And honestly I don’t blame him because no one is doing their jobs, and our planet just keeps getting hotter. And in an effort to be chill… he’s undercutting productivity and responsibility, and then Cool Hand Luke becomes Mr Hothead.

The other thing I noticed was, ‘Hey, Jen.’ as an acceptable greeting. In the first place, even my parents call me ‘Jennifer’, and never did I say just call me Jen, or Jenny or even Jennifer. It’s Madam, or Miss Kennedy if we are still trying to maintain a professional environment. But everyone here is hey, or hi, or dude. And he wonders why we are not on course for delivering carbon neutrality by 2040.

Working hard or hardly working?

I spoke with a ‘Team Manager’ who outlined all the ways they are promoting green within the office…

‘Breakfast for one thing’ she said. ‘By providing meals and snacks for our employees, they are less likely to go out of their way to grab breakfast or lunch AND more likely to carpool to work.’ This she said with a straight face. What I knew was given they now didn’t have to dress for work or make a meal, they were likely just rolling out of bed with enough time to throw something on and fully wake up at the office with a latte and a whole wheat croissant.

She continued, ‘Four work-from-anywhere weeks per year, and two work-from-home days each week.’ Combined with all the other times off… I estimated 90 in-office days in a calendar year. Time off to volunteer, internal culture clubs, caregiver leave, access to mental health apps (on company time), and onsite wellness centres. All of which she assured me, kept their carbon footprint down.

I didn’t have it in me to ask what ‘global reset/wellness days’ were. I was just glad my client had asked me only to consult on this aspect of the business because a path to success I could not see. In fact I thought it was structured to fail. Surely I was wrong but if he’d asked me ‘net-net’ as he calls it, that would be my honest answer. Alas. I didn’t know if I should grab a bowl of in-house pho or look for the nearest zen room.

Tucking into a large Caesar with grilled salmon I decided to call my father. I wasn’t in trouble I just wasn’t used to being the librarian in the room. ‘Hey, Daddy.’

‘Hey, Jennifer.’

‘I mean hello! God… never mind. I’m at the office.'

‘New job?’

‘No, not THE office, Daddy, HIS office… I’m at his office.’ I said.

American business is just the best!

‘Does he have a helipad?’

‘Maybe. No… I don’t know, I mean yes, yes he does. I just didn’t…I just… I’m feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing here.’

‘I thought you were saving the planet.’

‘Yes, of course that, it’s just he asked me to consult on their carbon-neutral deadline.’

‘Ah well, just tell him it’s impossible. I think that’s what’s got you nervous. You were never good at lying.’

‘DADDY! Not helping! And I’m not sure we can’t do it… I need to say something.’

‘Actually you don’t… you’re a consultant. They don’t expect results. It’s not like you’re looking for oil. Success there boils down to… sharing.’

‘OK maybe, but when they know I’m here for the neutrality goal, they get sort of double lazy.’

‘Ah. That’s because— and don’t take offence to this, but green pursuits lend themselves to a hippie mentality, it’s a plain fact. The two are intrinsically linked.’

UGH. Daddy was probably right. And even if he wasn’t right, it made sense he should be. And I definitely couldn’t change that. But there was no denying casual dress led to casual everything. And that my client couldn’t argue. Especially since he’d hired ME out of all the other possibilities, and I’d delivered. And hey, I don’t get the airport discount for nothing. 

Of Covid Mandates and Legal Liabilities

Last month President Biden announced an initiative that he asserts will ‘stop’ the SARS Cov-2 virus. A scientifically implausible objective, his outline included a plan to require all private businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated or require weekly testing. The mandates are curious because they burden businesses in unprecedented and legally nebulous ways.

Using a mechanism referred to as an Emergency Temporary Standard through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the administration asserts mandating vaccines will stop the transmission of the virus. However, the vaccine was neither developed for, nor indicated to arrest transmission of the virus. According to the FDA website, the vaccine is intended to “…reduce severe illness, hospitalization and death.”

So why might the Administration be issuing mandates for a vaccine that cannot achieve their stated purpose of ‘stopping the virus”? Consider possible reasons by looking through the lens of liability.

Cross my heart and hope to die.

As business-minded leaders do in the face of government overreach, a response must be developed that helps create certainty for the business. To get there in this case, one must review the most fundamental aspect of a mandate… if the business requires the action as a condition of employment, the business owns the consequence of what happens as a result. Understanding the business of vaccine liability may help a business determine whether it is in its best interest to accept the premise of the Biden Administration mandate, or perhaps consider other strategies, including legal challenges.

An important element of the liability relating to vaccines is whether the individual receives the Emergency Use Authorized (EUA)-version of the vaccine, or the newly FDA-approved, branded-version known as Comirnaty. While there is no difference in the actual drug in the syringe, there are differences in the liability protection offered under EUA for those who manufacture, distribute or in some way deliver the vaccine, compared to the FDA-approved Comirnaty.

According to the Congressional Research Service, “…in order to encourage the expeditious development and deployment of medical countermeasures during a public health emergency, the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to limit legal liability for losses relating to the administration of medical countermeasures such as diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.”

In a declaration effective February 4, 2020, nearly six weeks before the U.S. lock-downs, the HHS Secretary invoked the PREP Act and declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) to be a public health emergency warranting liability protections for covered countermeasures inclusive of the available vaccines. According to the current PREP ACT, the protection against liability reaches into 2025.

Ummm...

All state and local governments, medical providers and related manufacturers and distributors of modalities for treatment of Covid-19 were exempted from liability. So for anyone who receives the EUA- version of the vaccine, which as of this writing is still the only version available in the U.S., one has no recourse from a liability perspective, except in very specific and limited circumstances should one experience an adverse event or die. However, once FDA-approved and sold under the brand name Comirnaty, liability is handled differently. Comirnaty is currently only available in Israel.

Under normal circumstances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) provides compensation for injuries caused by most vaccines routinely administered in the U.S., such as childhood vaccines and non-pandemic seasonal influenza vaccines.

Enter mandated businesses. Once a vaccine is mandated by a private business, an entity not outlined and protected under the PREP Act, nor protected once a branded drug is available on the market, liability protection seemingly does not  exist for businesses.

Looking beyond the PREP ACT, consider the long-term efficacy data currently available. Since vaccines have only been available for a relatively short time, long-term data is simply unknown. However, that doesn’t mean the potential adverse events are not a liability for which a mandated company must model and prepare.

Consider the language from the FDA’s website, pertaining to long-term efficacy of the FDA-approved Comirnaty regarding Myocarditis and Pericarditis.

Additionally, the FDA conducted a rigorous evaluation of the post-authorization safety surveillance data pertaining to myocarditis and pericarditis following administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine and has determined that the data demonstrate increased risks, particularly within the seven days following the second dose. The observed risk is higher among males under 40 years of age compared to females and older males. The observed risk is highest in males 12 through 17 years of age. Available data from short-term follow-up suggest that most individuals have had resolution of symptoms. However, some individuals required intensive care support. Information is not yet available about potential long-term health outcomes. The Comirnaty Prescribing Information includes a warning about these risks.

Add to this, we now believe the SARS CoV-2 virus was modified in a Chinese lab and the liability issues are more nebulous. A recently exposed a 2018 grant proposal submitted by Peter Daszak of the Eco Health Alliance, to DARPA, the Pentagon’s research and development arm. The proposal sought funding to engineer a Furin Cleavage site (FCS) into a beta coronavirus. The FCS was intended to increase the virulence of the virus in humans. DARPA deemed it too dangerous and denied the grant.

A year later, in 2019, a beta coronavirus virus with a FCS shows up having potentially ‘leaked’ from a Wuhan lab at which Daszak was coincidently using National Institute of Health (NIH) funding to make gain-of-function modifications to beta family coronaviruses. A significant percentage of the spike protein from the original strain of SARS Cov-2 are in the vaccine now being mandated. What other enhancements were made to that virus and inadvertently stitched into the vaccine? The answers are presently unknown.

Companies must decide whether mandating the vaccine for their most valuable asset, their employees, is a sound business decision. Can businesses confidently assert that without a legal fight, they will not have some liability in the face of potential short and long-term health issues associated with the currently available vaccine?