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Will you lose your job if you don’t get the Covid-19 jab? | ticker VIEWS

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Mandatory vaccines in the workforce are a contentious topic

As many major organisations move to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for their employees, questions loom over the legalities surrounding this.

Can employers lawfully require employees to get a Covid-19 vaccine?

Many companies right around the world are moving to make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory for their workers. In the United States, Disney, Delta Airlines, Google, and Walmart are among the big names already implementing the mandate.

In Australia, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and SPC are considering their own mandates. Many Unions in Australia are encouraging workers to get the vaccine but will support those who push back against it.

“As soon as vaccines become more generally available, then most employers will be able to lawfully require most employees to be vaccinated.”

Ian Neil, Barrister

 

However, the big names that have come forward with mandating Covid-19 vaccinations do indicate the sectors that will continue to do so.

Neil says that any sector where employees have to work closely with one another have to be vaccinated.

“And then, of course, other sectors, like health care and age care, who are working closely with people and the vulnerable.”

Ian Neil, Barrister

 

Does discrimination play a role?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it is up to the individual companies to decide if they want to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for employees.

Concerns are spreading around discrimination in the workforce. Does it breach discrimination laws if someone loses their employment because they refuse the jab?

“In general, it’s not unlawful to discriminate against somebody on the ground they’re not vaccinated, and it’s not unlawful to discriminate in favour of someone who is.”

“But, there will be exceptions to that rule… if they have an underlying medical or psychological condition that makes it unsafe for them to be vaccinated.”

Ian Neil, Barrister

“No one will be forced to be vaccinated, that is something that is not lawful. People will always be able to choose not to be vaccinated.”

“But, there will be consequences that attach to that choice, and one of those consequences will be that they cannot get or continue in their employment, in cases where their employers require employees to be vaccinated.”

 

Ian Neil, Barrister

 

Changing employment landscape

Since the pandemic began, it has revolutionised the employment landscape live never before.

“Universal income support, that has never happened in this country [Australia] before, and has severed the connection between work and income.” 

Ian Neil, Barrister

 

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