Whether you can be fired for refusing coronavirus vaccine – rights explained

Some companies are currently creating new contracts which would force staff to have the coronavirus vaccine.

These new ‘No Jab, No Job’ contracts are being disputed by employment lawyers.

They argue these contracts may not be legal depending on how they are written and how long you have been employed.

Many companies are keen to have their staff inoculated against coronavirus, but they cannot force you to have the jab.

Jodie Hill, an employment lawyer at Thrive Law says: "Employers can’t legally force employees to take the vaccine; they can’t actively jab a vaccine in your arm or obtain a court order to force an employee to be vaccinated.

"It is also likely to be seen as a breach of employees’ human rights and there are possible criminal implications to consider as well."

Companies are rewriting contracts that would work around this, however.

One company doing this is Pimlico Plumbers, a network of plumbers working across London.

Charlie Mullins, the founder of Pimlico Plumbers told The Sun: "At Pimlico, we're planning to make it compulsory for new staff to have had the vaccine in the future, in order to protect the safety of staff and customers. It's been called 'No jab, no job', but I prefer to call it common sense.

"We will also be encouraging existing staff to have the vaccine… and legal opinion is that it can be supported by existing health and safety legislation."

Barchester Health has also said that it will not take on any new staff if they refuse the vaccine on non-medical grounds.

Employment lawyers have said employers can create these contracts for new employees, but they can’t be applied to existing staff.

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If your company has introduced these new contracts, it may take action against those that refuse to comply.

New members of staff may be forced to have the jab or risk getting fired.

Any existing staff that have agreed to change their contract could also face action if they fail to comply.

However, employment lawyers are urging caution from these companies as many people will have legitimate reasons to refuse the vaccine.

These reasons could include, pregnancy, trying to get pregnant, breastfeeding, religion, ethical veganism, or disability.

ACAS said: "An employer must consider if someone's reason for not wanting the vaccine could be protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010. For example, if they're pregnant."

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Your pay may be dependent on these contracts as if they have set out deductions in writing your employer does that the right to withhold or deduct your pay.

If you are concerned about the jab, it is best to speak to your employer directly.

ACAS advises that employees do this informally, it says: "They can do this by talking with their:

· employer

· health and safety representative, if they have one

· trade union representative, if they're a member of a trade union"

If you lose your job for not having the coronavirus vaccine you may want to speak to an employment lawyer.

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