News that Pimlico Plumbers is to rewrite the employment contracts of its more than 250 employees and require them to be vaccinated against coronavirus, or lose their jobs, is causing a ripple of uncertainty to spread through the commercial world once again.
Whilst there is no legal provision that permits such a requirement of an employee, it is likely many organisations will look to follow suit in an attempt to reassure workers returning to offices, factories and workshops that all has been done to protect them.
Alec Colson Head of Employment Law at Taylor Walton explores the issues: “In short, compulsory vaccines is a legal minefield and employers will need to be very careful how they approach the matter, as it raises numerous legal issues.
“An employer’s requirement for an employee to have a COVID vaccine appears a ‘reasonable instruction’ to keep colleagues safe in the work place, but it is likely to depend on the business sector of the employer and the services it provides.
“Employers need to consider carefully the circumstances of the individual employee, but the risks include discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief, disability, pregnancy and breaking data protection legislation as well as unfair dismissal if the employee has unfair dismissal rights.”