Losing a Job Due to Vaccination Refusal: Reviewing Similar CasesJuly 06, 2021
As Australia continues to roll out its vaccination program to its citizens, a question remains for employees and employers alike: can bosses force employees to get vaccinated? Vaccination is essential to control and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In a business sense, getting vaccinated also means protecting workers and customers from the virus.
Some people remain adamant about the vaccines, however, which has caused employers to take action against their employees. Such concerns are real, mainly because of a case in 2020 where employees lost their job when refusing the influenza vaccine.
Are you afraid that you may lose your job for not getting a COVID-19 vaccination? Let’s learn of the two examples of the refusal of a vaccination that resulted in people losing their jobs:
The Goodstart Early Learning Case
Our first example for a case that resulted in a job loss due to vaccination refusal is the Goodstart Early Learning case, which involves an employee named Nicole Arnold.
In April of 2020, Goodstart Early Learning made it a requirement that all employees undergo flu vaccination. They have allowed exceptions, however, provided that refusal is made on medical grounds. Arnold made a refusal, however, but for different reasons.
Rather than citing medical reasons, she cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Nuremberg Principles, and even the Bible. Because of the lack of medical reasons, she was dismissed a few months later.
This case was under review by the Fair Work Commission but later concluded that the vaccination policy was fair and just. This is because Goodstart’s business revolves around working with children, and it was their priority to keep them safe. Arnold’s refusal was against this priority and was seen as unreasonable by the commission.
The Ozcare Case
Our second case is the Ozcare case involving Maria Glover, who was 64 years of age and has worked with the company for over ten years.
In April 2020, Ozcare created a policy that made influenza vaccinations mandatory for all of its employees. This was an attempt to reduce the dangers of COVID-19 that clients may have caught from their workers. Glover refused to take the vaccination, citing that when she was young, she suffered from an adverse reaction to a flu shot.
Upon being dismissed from the job, Glover filed an unfair dismissal claim. The case, however, is still under review by the commission, meaning that there is yet to be a final ruling. This has brought plenty of concerns as to whether the policy itself was justified. Many started to question whether such rules have to be mandatory for every employee.
Commissioner Hunt, who is working on the case, noted that each situation’s context needs to be considered. After all, not everyone’s job is the same, and some may be in much more contact with people than others.
The question still stands: can you get dismissed from the job because you refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination? Simply put, it is possible. However, given all the cases that have previously occurred, companies of today may start to reconsider their policies a little more thoroughly.
The policies to be laid down by the company will be entirely on their decision, but it is fair to say that such decisions aren’t easy ones to make. A company’s priority is always the safety of its employees and clients. If they see any unnecessary risks to either party, actions may be taken, such as the dismissal of the individual.
Do you feel that you were unfairly dismissed from your job? Workclaims Australia can assist you by providing legal services to help you exercise your rights the right way. Work with our employment lawyers in Perth today to protect your job!