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Workplace mandatory vaccination: Employers must do a risk assessment

21 October 2021 1:32 PM
Tags:
University of Cape Town
Webber Wentzel
mandatory vaccination policy
Covid-19 in the workplace
Brett Abrahams

Webber Wentzel senior associate Brett Abrahams says where employees object to vaccination on medical or constitutional grounds that must be taken into account.

There was mixed reaction gestation following the University of Cape Town (UCT) around vaccine mandate which has been adopted in principle.

UCT said that its council fully discussed the possibility of a mandatory vaccination policy and took into consideration a range of diverse views before making a decision to approve in principle a proposal on vaccination as a condition of campus access from next year.

Webber Wentzel senior associate in the employment and employee benefits practice Brett Abrahams has more.

The most important starting point is for people to realise that this is something that is happening and employers are entitled to consider the implementation of that mandatory vaccination policy. It is never going to be a blanket thing, the employers must consider a risk assessment.

Brett Abrahams, Senior associate in the employment and employee benefits practice - Webber Wentzel

One will look at the business as a whole and in respect of each employee category decide whether and for what reason mandatory vaccination is appropriate. Consider what impact has Covid-19 had on the workplace and the ability of the business to run, the health and safety of their employees and also of contractors and service providers.

Brett Abrahams, Senior associate in the employment and employee benefits practice - Webber Wentzel

No employer can simply make it a blanket standard that employees have to be vaccinated. Where employees object to it on medical or constitutional grounds that must be taken into account by an employer and where appropriate compromises have to be made.

Brett Abrahams, Senior associate in the employment and employee benefits practice - Webber Wentzel

You can't force an employee to disclose their vaccination status. What we find happening in practice is that employers on a voluntary basis look to get employees to disclose their vaccination status. They need informed consent of the employees in order to disclose their medical information, and where it is disclosed the employer is obliged under POPI to ensure that information is stored in an appropriate manner and in compliance with POPI.

Brett Abrahams, Senior associate in the employment and employee benefits practice - Webber Wentzel

What happens in practice is employers will ask employees to disclose and potentially when they refuse to treat them as unvaccinated.

Brett Abrahams, Senior associate in the employment and employee benefits practice - Webber Wentzel

Listen below for the full interview...




21 October 2021 1:32 PM
Tags:
University of Cape Town
Webber Wentzel
mandatory vaccination policy
Covid-19 in the workplace
Brett Abrahams

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