Is it necessary for workers to have a COVID vaccine to be able to work?
Many of our clients, and ourselves, have come up with contractual expectations to only send ‘double jabbed’ workers to their client’s workspaces, regardless of where this is.
Is this lawful? If yes, then it must meet some human rights and equality tests that are engrained within our national laws. The requirement for vaccinations must be ‘proportionate, to meet a legitimate aim’. There is certainly a legitimate aim, to reduce COVID related deaths and the vaccine is deemed highly effective, so surely these equality tests are met, aren’t they?
ACAS believe that employers cannot insist that their workers take the vaccine and should listen to concerns if any worker refuses to take it. If the reasons for refusing the vaccine are unfounded, then employers may be able to take disciplinary action.
The relevant factors are stated to be:
- Whether there is a Vaccine Policy, such as health and safety arrangements, in place.
- Whether the vaccine is necessary to do their job.
- Whether an employee’s reason for not wanting the vaccine might be protected under the Equality Act 2010.
Obtaining vaccine information from workers needs to be done in a very confidential and protected manner. Consent should be sought first, then the data received stored securely and only shared with those who need to know for resource planning. Such information must not be shared outside the organisation, without each worker’s written consent.
Where there is no mandate for compulsory vaccinations then care must be taken when insisting on COVID vaccines, and the sharing of medical records.
Need advice on this or any other HR or employment law matter? Call our team of lawyers on 03456 122 144.