A question a lot of employers are asking at the moment is whether they can require their employees to get a vaccine.  The answer to this is a great one for lawyers which everyone hates to hear: “it depends.”

It does depend on your industry, public health orders, level of risk of infection, etc.  Industrial law allows employers to issue lawful and reasonable directions to staff, including on issues such as a vaccine, and it also provides for employees to be able to refuse on certain reasonable grounds.

A reasonable assumption for employers to make is that they cannot require their employees to be vaccinated.  However, a childcare worker who claimed unfair dismissal for refusing to get the flu vaccination has recently lost their appeal against their previous employer.  The Fair Work Commission weighed all of the facts and found her reason for exemption was invalid.

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This is a very interesting decision considering the precedent it is setting as the COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out.

Stacey Brennan
Lawyer & Chief of Staff