Two recent decisions of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) found that it was lawful for an employer to dismiss an employee after refusing a “lawful and reasonable direction” to receive a flu vaccination.

In Barber v Goodstart Early Learning [2021] FWC 2156, Deputy President Lake of the FWC was not satisfied on the evidence that the dismissal of an employee in an early learning and childcare centre was harsh, unjust or unreasonable in the circumstances.

Similarly, in Jennifer Kimber v Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care Ltd [2021] FWC 1818, Commissioner McKenna found that the employer acted in an ‘objectively prudent and reasonable way’ in not permitting the employee to work within an aged care centre without an up-to-date vaccination.

If you are an employer operating in a high risk industry (such as child care, aged care and health care) and you are intending to implement a vaccination policy, it may be lawful and reasonable to give such a direction to an employee particularly where the policies are supported by Government medical advice. However this will always depend on the circumstances.


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