To Punish or Not? Lawyers differ on treatment of employees who refuse to take COVID-19 vaccine
TWO lawyers are of the view that there is nothing wrong with employers punishing employees who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
But there is also a dissenting legal voice that the Jamaica Observer spoke to in respect of the situation.
Attorney-at-law Gavin Goffe has asserted that employers are free to contract, with respect to non-disciplinary measures, where refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine is concerned. He said that for some job functions and roles, to ensure efficiency, vaccination is likely to be required.
“There are going to be places right now that certain roles and jobs are only going to be allowed for people who are vaccinated. I know for instance many employers who are not going to allow their seniors over 60 years old, who are the highest risk category, to return to work unless they are vaccinated,” he said.
Though the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory, Goffe said employers are free to say that they are only going to be hiring people who are vaccinated.
“There's nothing wrong with that. You can say I am only going to be extending the contract – and a lot of people are fixed term contract – of people who are vaccinated. Nothing is wrong with that [or saying] I'm going to only be allowing entry into my premises of people who are vaccinated,” he explained.