‘No Jab, No Job’, that’s the vaccine policy Pimlico Plumbers, Founder and Chairman, Charlie Mullins, plans to adopt.
Speaking to City A.M, Mr Mullins has revealed that the company’s lawyers would be modifying contracts to make the vaccine mandatory for all new hires and require existing workers to have a vaccine, but is this something employers can legally implement?
A Covid Ultimatum
“We’re going to change their contracts to say – whatever the wording might be – that you’re required to have a vaccine. It’s going to be standard” he said in the interview. However, has expressed the fact that if workers refused, they would not be forced to have the vaccine or be sacked if they refused.
There are currently no statutory provisions which legally require staff to become vaccinated against Covid-19. There is also no legal requirement for staff to get tested. At present, this means you cannot force staff to have a vaccine or get tested.
Over 2 million people have been vaccinated to date. Since Thursday 14th January, high street chemists have started vaccinating the public in England (From Friday 15th January, if you live in Wales).
With the availability of vaccines on the high street, Mr Mullins, has stated his willingness to pay for private immunisations once they become available. He has set aside £800,000 in order to immunise more than 400 workers.
“No vaccine, no job… when we go off to Africa and Caribbean countries, we have to have a jab for malaria – we don’t think about it, we just do it. So why would we accept something within our country that’s going to kill us when we can have a vaccine to stop it?”
What About Employment Law?
At present not even the government cannot force members of the public to undergo any mandatory medical treatment, including vaccinations under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.
Can I Force an Employee to Get a Vaccination?
If you attempt to force an employee to be vaccinated, it could lead to discrimination and/or constructive dismissal claims being brought against your business, potentially opening the business up to expensive compensation claims.
Under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010), religious and philosophical beliefs may be used as a reasoning for refusing the vaccine. Many vaccines use pig gelatine, which could cause problems for several religious groups, as well as vegans; all protected under the EqA 2010.
There is also the question of whether anti-vaxxers will be protected? If the individual can prove that their belief was genuinely held and worthy of respect, tribunals may accept that they are protected under the EqA 2010.
If you force an employee to get a vaccination, an employee would not only be able to bring a potential claim against the business at an employment tribunal, but it will also give rise to human rights concerns and possible criminal implications.