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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 75057
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Mandatory covid vaccination please help I’ve got a note from

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Mandatory covid vaccination please help I’ve got a note from gp temporary giving me exemption from having jab at the moment my employer is saying they will not accept it please can you advise
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: only my hone manager I am not in a union I have until 16 sept to have my first vaccine or they have said I cannot work in the home I work for Halton borough council
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: employee
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I’ve had long covid and was very ill for several months hence not wanting vaccine at the moment am also still having some symptoms that are debilitating

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Can I just check what your role actually involves? and how long have you worked for this employer please?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I am a health care assistant and I have worked for 5 years

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, usually the same day. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

As you can appreciate, this is all relatively new, especially from a legal perspective, so things can change in time, especially once challenges start being brought in through the courts. However, as it currently stands, the position is as follows:

No one can force an employee to get vaccinated so the physical aspect of getting vaccinated is something that will always depend on them personally and be their choice. However, a refusal to get vaccinated can have further repercussions in their job, for example if the employer has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy.

Whether the employer can then take any formal action against an employee who refuses to get vaccinated will depend on various points. The starting point is that is that the employer can decide whether to only employ vaccinated staff or not and can potentially look at taking formal action against those who don’t. However, how easy that would be will depend on certain factors, such as:

What are the reasons for their refusal to get vaccinated – there are a few limited grounds, based on what are known as protected characteristics, which may allow an employee to refuse vaccination without being penalised for it. It includes things like having a disability, which can be affected by the vaccine, or a religious belief which prevents that.

How critical to the role is it that the employee is vaccinated – an office-based job, where there are no specific identifiable vulnerable groups of people, may find it more difficult to justify mandatory vaccination. On the other hand, care jobs, where the workers are constantly facing vulnerable people, will be much easier to justify due to the critical nature of the work and how seriously an outbreak can affect them.

As you can see, it is a complex and fast-changing area of law and the consensus is that employers can indeed make vaccinations mandatory and can potentially dismiss certain employees who do not comply, however if they have been there for more than 2 years or have a protected characteristic which prevents them from being vaccinated, it may make a dismissal more difficult to justify.

Please see here for a much more detailed discussion and guidance on this subject:

https://www.lewissilkin.com/en/insights/coronavirus-vaccination-faqs-for-employers

Hello, following my main response above, I just wanted to check that everything was clear. If you have any further queries about this issue, you can reply to me at any time on this portal and I will be happy to help. Thank you.

Hello, I trust that everything has now been resolved to your satisfaction and your original question has been dealt with. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

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