23 Mar The Legality of No Jab No Job? Mandatory COVID Jabs for Carers
No jab, no job could be a dangerous approach for employers to take.
There is not enough evidence to suggest taking the vaccine makes everyone’s working environment safe. If an employer tries to force their employees to receive the jab or decides not to hire someone based on their refusal to get the jab, it could result in employment claims, for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination.
However, in circumstances where a person is working in the healthcare sector, or with vulnerable children and adults, and refuses to get the vaccine, there may well be more validity to the request by the employer for vaccinations. This will be made more complicated if the government were to introduce mandatory vaccinations for care workers, as there will be questions raised over how to define a ‘care’ worker, to determine who would fall within the scope of this new policy. The introduction of the mandatory jab, could give employers more flexibility in implementing a workplace vaccination policy.
Vaccinations create a conflict of legal protections, where the freedom of individual choice is weighed against the health and safety of others. Some employees may have a justifiable reason for not wanting to take the vaccine, and we would always urge employers to discuss an employee’s reluctance, whether it be related to a disability or religious reasons.
Additionally, in all cases, every other option would need to be exhausted before dismissal was to be considered. For example, they could ask an employee if they can work from home, or to consider switching to a role that would mean they are coming into contact with fewer people in order to effectively safeguard against the potential risk.
If no solution can be found, there could be serious ramifications for the employers if they dismissed or refused jobs. It is likely that we will see a significant increase in cases brought before the employment tribunal to decide the rights of employers vs employees.”
Kate Hindmarch, partner in Employment Law at Langleys Solicitors