Mandatory workplace vaccination: Some recent COVID-19 vaccination cases

  • In four recent cases the Fair Work Commission upheld the right of the employer to mandate COVID-19 vaccination and terminate the employment of employees who either fail to get vaccinated or do not have an applicable medical exemption.
  • As well as having a valid reason for termination, the employer must take all reasonable steps to ensure procedural fairness.
  • An employer may still be able to mandate vaccination in its workplace even if there is not an applicable government health order in place, provided the direction to give effect to such a mandate is lawful and reasonable.

Four recent Fair Work Com­mis­sion unfair dis­missal cas­es pro­vide insights into the legal posi­tion relating to manda­to­ry COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tion in the work­place. In short, in each of the four cas­es the Com­mis­sion upheld the right of the employ­er to man­date COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tion and ter­mi­nate the employ­ment of employ­ees who either fail to get vac­ci­nat­ed or do not have an applic­a­ble med­ical exemp­tion (sup­port­ed by evidence).

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