“No jab, no job” – Follow up
In early July 2021 we discussed whether employers might lawfully be able to dismiss employees if they refuse to be vaccinated against Covid.
Since then, legislation was passed which compels care homes to ensure that most workers are vaccinated. The regulations come into force on 11 November 2021. The delay is to allow time for such workers to become vaccinated. These regulations apply only to England.
In short, the regulations provide that care homes are to ensure that no persons who are not fully vaccinated enter care homes unless they fall within one of the exemptions. The main exemptions are care home residents; friends and relatives of such residents; emergency help providers and children under 18.
If someone cannot be vaccinated for clinical reasons, then the regulations will not apply. However, there is no such exemption for people who remain unvaccinated because of their religious or philosophical beliefs.
This is the most basic of overviews of the regulations, and if these regulations might affect you, then the regulations must be read in full, and advice should be taken
Subsequently significant concerns had been raised by care organisations, who pointed out that there is already a crisis in relation to recruitment of staff, which can only be exacerbated if a significant proportion of workers are lost by virtue of these new regulations.
The latest development is that it appears that the regulations will be subject to a Judicial Review. In short, a Judicial Review is an application to the Court in which claimants assert that the government has acted unlawfully.
A pre-action letter has been sent by lawyers acting for the proposed claimants, inviting the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to withdraw the regulations, prior to the issue of a Judicial Review application.
That letter set out the grounds upon which the application will be made, including interference with a worker's right to respect for private life.
We will keep you informed in relation to development in this area.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.
7 September 2021