As working from home becomes a thing of the past, can your boss force you to be vaccinated? The rules around mandatory vaccinations for the office are unclear, so Express.co.uk has spoken to the legal experts to uncover your employment rights.
There are many reasons why an employee may choose not to get the vaccine.
Medical exemptions could be a reason why individuals may refuse the vaccine.
Julian Hoskins, a partner at Bevan Brittan LLP told Express.co.uk “ethical veganism”, for example, could be a reason why some have chosen to reject the jab.
In the US, workplaces can legally mandate vaccines for employees, and they can dismiss staff if they fail to comply.
But it’s far from clear whether UK employers can do the same.
Julian Hoskins, a Partner at Bevan Brittan LLP told Express.co.uk: “Although UK employers can encourage their workforce to get a vaccination, they cannot currently make it mandatory under UK law.
“Therefore, when hiring or firing, decisions cannot be made based on whether or not an individual has been vaccinated.”
If an employer chooses to fire an employee because they are unvaccinated, it would likely amount to unfair dismissal and/or discrimination.
But unvaccinated employees may also be less appealing to employers, he added.
He said: “It may be seen as ‘less risky’ for an employer to reject a job applicant if they cannot provide proof of vaccination, as they will not have the service required to bring an unfair dismissal claim, but the discrimination risk remains.”
But there are some workplaces where employees will need to be fully vaccinated.
From November 11, care home staff in England will need to be fully vaccinated to enter a care home unless they are medically exempt or pregnant.
Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR said: “Care homes in England can legally require employees to have the vaccine, unless they have a medical exemption.
“Action can be taken against those who cannot provide evidence of this through the NHS Covid Pass.”
What should you do if your employer is insisting on a vaccinated workforce?
Laura Kearsley Partner at Nelsons told Express.co.uk: “If your employer is insisting you get the vaccine, then you should flag and discuss any concerns with your employer and see what can be agreed.
“An employer is not likely to be able to insist you get it [the vaccine] or be able to take action against you for not doing so.”
But it’s always worth noting that if you haven’t been with your employers for two years or more, you won’t have the automatic right to claim unfair dismissal.
Ms Kearsley added: “Those who provide their services on a self-employed or zero-hours basis might also be less protected from their employer’s decisions.”