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Employees refusing a coronavirus vaccine

Posted on: March 4th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If an employee refuses the vaccine, can they be excluded from working with others?

Taking this approach carries a number of risks:

Discrimination – asking employees who’ve refused a vaccine to work from home or ending their employment creates significant risks of successful discrimination claims if the employee’s reason for refusing is due to a ‘protected characteristic’ such pregnancy or a medical condition (to name a few).

Breach of trust and confidence – much like forcing an employee to have the vaccine (see our previous update), treating employees differently because they can’t or won’t have the vaccine could be considered a breach of trust and confidence, entitling the employee to resign and bring a constructive unfair dismissal claim.

Reputational damage – you’re likely to hit the headlines for introducing policies that effectively ‘segregate’ vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees.

Alternatives – think about how you can continue to maximise existing precautions and safety measures in the workplace (social distancing, face coverings, hand washing etc.) along with updating your risk assessment to mitigate the potential impact and create a safe environment for all.

Click here to access our free comprehensive coronavirus vaccine guidance note. 


This update is accurate on the date it was sent (5 March 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.