The claimant was a care assistant in a nursing home providing residential care for dementia sufferers. She was dismissed in December 2020, prior to the introduction of compulsory Covid-19 vaccination for workers in the care sector. She claimed unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.
Employment Judge Bright, taking care to make plain that the decision was based entirely on the facts of the case and should not be taken as a general indication that dismissal for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 is fair, set out that the claimant’s refusal to be vaccinated was an unreasonable refusal to comply with a reasonable management instruction. The claimant’s reason was her fear of and scepticism about the vaccine, rather than religious belief. Judge Bright found that in particular because the Claimant knew she represented a risk to others, her actions fell within the definition and examples of gross misconduct set out in the respondent’s disciplinary procedure. Her refusal to be vaccinated therefore amounted to a repudiatory breach of her contract of employment entitling the respondent to summarily dismiss her.
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It’s an interesting case, and a subject we are surely going to see more of as the cases reach the tribunals!