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Part #1 – no vaccine, no job?

Posted on: January 18th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Is a fair dismissal possible for employees refusing to be vaccinated?

If you’re seeking to make the vaccine compulsory, here’s what you need to consider:

Possible breach of implied duty of trust and confidence – forcing an employee to have the vaccine could be considered a breach of trust and confidence (implied in every employment relationship), entitling the employee to resign and bring a constructive unfair dismissal claim. As those within the NHS aren’t being forced to have the vaccine, it is unlikely a tribunal will sympathise with arguments that the vaccination was an absolute requirement of the role.

Significant risks of discrimination – those with allergies, who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or of a particular religious belief (along with other legally protected groups) will not be able to agree to the vaccination. Job losses as a result are unlikely to be capable of justification.

Damage to reputation – we’re likely to see significant litigation against those employers forcing employees to have the vaccination. You could well make the headlines if you insist on the vaccination for all employees.

Health and safety claims – if there are health issues as a result of the vaccine, personal injury claims against you are possible! Check your insurance to ensure you’re covered.

Tomorrow we’ll explore the steps you can take short of insisting employees are vaccinated.

Our ‘safe return to work’ guidance note covers in more detail the associated legal risks of compulsory vaccinations, along with our suggestions on how to manage a range of associated challenges of employers continue to face during the pandemic.  Click here for more information.


This update is accurate on the date it was sent (18 January 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.