Can My Employer Force Me to Get A Covid Vaccine?
Head of Employment at Lawson West Solicitors, Director Vaishali Thakerar
Despite the fact that there is talk of a vaccine being compulsory in the sectors such as Health Care, there is, however, no legal requirement of anyone to be vaccinated.
Employees & Vaccines at Work
Therefore, this means that your employer cannot force you to have the vaccine. Your employer can argue however, that it is a reasonable request for you to do so on the grounds of health and safety, but they cannot legitimately force you to have this. Therefore, employers should be careful in taking disciplinary action or dismissing staff that refuse to have the vaccine.
Employers & Vaccines at Work
As an employer, each case should be considered on its facts as there may be a reason as why it is not suitable for a particular employee ie if they are pregnant or if they have a disorder, which does not permit them to have the vaccine.
What are the implications of requiring mandatory vaccines?
An employee could claim unfair dismissal if there is refusal to allow them to work. An employee can argue that there is a breach of contract and they are forced into resigning therefore, claiming constructive unfair dismissal.
An employee can also say that this is a breach of their human rights to their freedom of thought, conscious or religion.
An employee can also assert that they have been discriminated against. This could be on the grounds of disability, religion, race or age.
It is arguable that an employer can say that having a policy whereby an employee must have the vaccine is to achieve a legitimate aim i.e. protecting the health and safety of others, however at present, there is no evidence to say that the vaccination prevents or reduces transmission of Covid-19 within the workplace and therefore, there is doubt as to whether such a policy would be appropriate and proportionate to achieve a legitimate aim. Therefore, employers should act very carefully before introducing such a policy.
If you believe that your employer is imposing this policy and you have been dismissed or feel that you have no choice but to resign, then please contact a member of our employment team here.