Can Employers Insist on Covid-19 Vaccinations? Richard Fox talks to the FT

31 August 2021

Richard Fox, a senior Partner in our Employment team, is quoted extensively in the FT today regarding the dilemma faced by companies who may wish to insist that their workers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before they return to the office.
 

While in the US Federal Law does not prevent employers from setting a vaccine requirement, the UK’s Equality Act makes discrimination unlawful at work, although indirect discrimination can potentially be justified to achieve a legitimate aim.

Cautious employment lawyers would always say it’s dangerous to introduce a mandatory vaccine policy (in the UK) because you could get people with discrimination claims and you could be vulnerable, so generally the word we use with our clients is encourage, don’t compel.”

The mood music (around vaccines) is changing (with the spread of the Delta variant) and some UK employers were starting to consider whether the infection rate could act as a justification.”

Some clients want to mandate people back into work because they are taking the lead from what goes on in the States….We haven’t yet really tackled the compulsory vaccination issue as it’s very new, but I think when August is behind us that will start happening.”

You can read the full article on the FT here (FT subscription required) and also here.

Further Information

Should you have any queries regarding the issues raised in this news piece, please contact Richard or any member of  our employment team.

 

About the Author

Richard acts for corporates, organisations and senior individuals in relation to employment matters of all kinds.  These include confidentiality and restrictive covenants, executive pay, bonus and severance arrangements, unfair dismissal, discrimination, whistleblowing and redundancy programmes.  He is frequently asked to advise in situations involving allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace following the rise of the #MeToo movement, and the cases that have followed.

Richard is a well-known commentator on employment law issues, appearing often in the Press (The Times, The Financial Times, People Management, HR Magazine, Personnel Today etc) and on TV/ Radio (BBC, ITV, Sky and Radio 4).

 

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