The debate around vaccinations and employment law is starting to hot up after a number of recent reports in the media.
It’s been reported in Personnel Today that news network CNN has dismissed three employees who came into work unvaccinated against Covid-19.
In a memo sent to staff, Jeff Zucker, chairman of news and sports for parent company WarnerMedia, reminded employees about the company’s vaccination policy, which requires staff to be jabbed if they attend the office or come into contact with other employees in the field.
At the moment, they are still on work from home mode and employees can choose to go to the office if they want to. If they go through, they must be vaccinated and so in this instance, this is the rule that has been broken. Will be interesting to see what happens to the policy when they all return back to the office!
Is it harsh to sack those that don’t get the vaccine or a pragmatic approach to protect your people? The difficulty for businesses is that there are valid arguments for either side!
In the UK there is guidance from ACAS with the message being one of supporting employees to access the vaccine, but that employers need to be sensitive to individual concerns.
“Employers should support staff in getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s offered to them.
From 11 November, people working or volunteering in certain Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care homes in England must be vaccinated by law, unless exempt.
There’s currently no other law that says people must have the vaccine, even if an employer would prefer someone to have it. There may be some people who are advised not to have the vaccine, for example for health reasons.”
So at the moment, there’s a policy to cover the care sector. The big question for other employers is what can I do if someone does not want to be vaccinated?
ACAS suggests the following:
“If someone does not want to be vaccinated, the employer should listen to their concerns.
Some people may have health reasons, for example, they could get an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
Employers should be sensitive towards personal situations and must keep any concerns confidential. They must be careful to avoid discrimination .”
It poses an interesting question for HR Leaders, especially across global businesses. What will they do across different regions? Will policies be the same for everyone or will there be regional differences?
Would you support a vaccination only workplace?