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Should employees take the vaccine?

28 January 2021

Harriet Gardner

Covid-19 Vaccine

Should employees take the vaccine?

Last week the chairman of Pimlico Plumbers, Charlie Mullins, commented that it was a “no-brainer” that workers should have the jab. The plumbing company has announced its plans to insert a clause requiring all workers and employees to get the jab and has stated that it will not take on new starters who were not immunised.

If an employer believes that an employee refusing the vaccine is unreasonable, they may initiate the disciplinary procedure. This may become necessary if an employee is required to have the vaccine to do their job, for example, if a key part of the role includes international travel which may ultimately require the vaccine.

However, forcing employees to take the vaccine could be a risky move. ACAS has taken the viewpoint that employers should support staff in obtaining the vaccine but that the employer should not force the employee to be vaccinated.

Employees with the required pre-requisites may try to claim unfair dismissal if it can be established that it is not a reasonable management instruction to require employees to take the vaccine.

Those who refuse to get the vaccine for legitimate reasons may be protected from dismissal or unfair treatment by the Equality Act 2010, meaning that it may be discriminatory to take action. Reasons may include medical reasons, due to religious beliefs or if they are pregnant.

If you need legal advice regarding a specific employment law issue, please call us on 01302 341414