Can an employer require an employee to be vaccinated?

by | Oct 16, 2021 | Golf Clubs

There is no law requiring people to have the vaccine even if an employer would prefer their employees to have it. This is probably the approach a labor court would expect from a sane employer in the vast majority of cases.

With the relaxation of Covid restrictions, jobs have opened up and more people have returned to work locally. The latest personnel change in the golf industry was that the catering and bar operations are almost “normal” again. It seems an appropriate time to check whether an employer can insist on a Covid vaccination of employees, since the vaccine is offered to younger sections of the population.

The first thing to note is that neither the Westminster government nor the decentralized governments have made vaccinations compulsory for the population; they cannot do this under current legislation.

It follows that an employer cannot force an employee to get vaccinated. Any physical attempt to do so is likely to constitute a civil wrong (the illicit act of transgressing the person) and also the crime of bodily harm or harm.

ACAS Guideline on Obtaining the Coronavirus Vaccine for Work (as updated March 16, 2021) states that employers should assist their employees in obtaining the vaccine as soon as it is offered to them. There is no law requiring people to have the vaccine even if an employer would prefer their employees to have it. This is probably the approach a labor court would expect from a sane employer in the vast majority of cases.

If an employer adopts a no jab, no job policy and cannot demonstrate that it is necessary, there is likely to be a risk of staff claims such as:

  1. In the case of indirect discrimination:
  • by younger workers who could not be fully vaccinated because they did not fall into a priority group for vaccination
  • by those who reject the vaccine on religious or philosophical grounds
  • of those who cannot be vaccinated because of a disability.
  1. For an unjustified termination on the basis that the requirement violates the implicit trust obligation.

The right of the worker to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (entered into force in the United Kingdom through the Human Rights Act 1998) should also be taken into account.

It is unlikely that a golf club employer can legally demonstrate that vaccination is required for its employees. To highlight the high bar, special laws have been passed in nursing homes that require people who work in nursing homes to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus (Covid-19) to better protect nursing home residents.

Even if the younger generation received both doses of the vaccine, we are now hearing reports that the effectiveness of the vaccine deteriorates over time, making the older generation and the most clinically vulnerable people (the first people vaccinated) less protected and that they may need a booster jab. There are also people who have natural immunity for a while if they recently had the coronavirus. Ask how an employer justifies the need for a vaccine when there are different sections of the workforce with different levels of potentially unsafe protection and immunity. Also, consider if a justification for the need for the stab would work if the club continued many of the pandemic risk-rated safety measures.

Golf clubs and their members can still take comfort in the fact that the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the important obligations that continue to apply to all employers have not changed. Employers remain under the same legal obligation to do what is reasonably necessary to ensure that their employees are provided with a safe workplace and system of work. The risk assessments that golf clubs have carried out due to the Covid pandemic will certainly continue to be relevant and should continue to be applied in considering what measures are appropriate to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace. For example, many prudent employers will continue to require their employees to maintain social distance to avoid crowds and continue to require their employees to wear face masks in certain areas to minimize the risk of Covid infection in the workplace. Similar distancing measures may also be required of club members indoors.

Employers may find it useful to talk to their employees about the vaccine and share information about the benefits of vaccination. For example, the PHE Vaccination Guide for Healthcare Professionals highlights:

  1. The extent of the risk that healthcare workers are exposed to and the consequences of contracting and spreading the coronavirus to family, friends and patients
  2. That the vaccine reduces a person’s risk of developing the disease and that it has been shown to be effective
  3. While the evidence as to whether vaccination reduces the likelihood of transmission of the virus is less clear, PHE expects vaccinated health and care workers to be less likely to pass infection on to their friends and family and the vulnerable people they care for
  4. The most common side effects.

According to the ACAS guidelines, if someone does not want to be vaccinated, the employer must:

  1. Should listen to their concerns; some people may have health reasons not to be vaccinated, such as: B. You may get an allergic reaction
  2. Should be sensitive to individual situations
  3. Must keep all concerns confidential

4. Must be careful to avoid discrimination.