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Care Worker Vaccine Mandate Lawful Tribunal Rules

Five care home workers who lost their jobs after refusing to have the Covid vaccination were lawfully dismissed, a judge has ruled.

The staff who worked for Barchester Healthcare were dismissed for refusing Covid-19 vaccinations without any medical exemption.

The employment judge dismissed claims of unfair dismissal saying the home had fired the unvaccinated staff in order to protect clinically vulnerable lives.

From 11 November 2021 CQC registered care homes could only use staff to provide care who can prove that they’ve had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (or are medically exempt), following the introduction of mandatory vaccinations for adult social care workers. Care staff across England were told to have their first vaccination by September 16 to meet the November 11 cut-off.

However, in March this year the legal requirement for health and social care staff to be double jabbed was removed, following an exodus of staff.

The U-turn followed a public consultation, where 90% of responses supported the mandate removal.

The care workers contended they should not have lost their jobs for refusing to comply with the vaccination policy saying they turned down the vaccine due to their spiritual and philosophical beliefs.

However, the employment tribunal ruled that the workers had not been fired without good reason, ruling that healthcare firm had the ‘legitimate aim of minimising the risk of death and serious illness amongst residents and staff’ and such a move was ‘necessary in a democratic society’.

Employment Judge Neil Maidment said: ‘Barchester Healthcare was seeking to minimise the risk of death, putting genuine value on the saving of any resident’s life.

‘Any contrary attitude from a care home provider might have been regarded as disturbing.’

Judge Maidment recognised that the reason for sacking the workers, while ‘unusual’, was ‘genuine and substantial’ and said the company ‘believed its policy of (subject to medical exemption) only employing vaccinated care home staff would save lives’.

Adding that the company never proposed vaccination by force.

‘It was at pains, throughout the introduction of the policy, to reaffirm that it recognised vaccines could not be mandated, that vaccination was the choice of the individual, that consent had to be given freely and consent to future vaccinations could be withdrawn at any stage.

‘Vaccination was not at this point in time mandated by law, but vaccination was not physically forced upon any of the claimants.

‘Whilst they would not have judged it as a free choice given the obvious implications of a loss of employment, it was a choice they had.’

‘The tribunal concludes that any interference with human rights in the circumstances of this case was proportionate.’

 

 
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