CCMA ruling not last word on vax mandate, but bosses will see it as affirmation
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) this week ruled in favour of a company that fired an employee for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Goldrush Group announced plans to implement a mandatory vaccination policy last year, to protect its employees.
Company business and training officer Theresa Mulderiji was reportedly dismissed after her application for an exemption from the policy was rejected.
Commissioner Lungile Matshaka found that Mulderiji had “refused to participate in the creation of a safe working environment”.
Does the CCMA ruling set a legal precedent?
Bruce Whitfield interviews Anastasia Vatalidis, Director and Head of Labour & Employment Practice at Werksmans Attorneys.
While the ruling has "set the cat among the pigeons", Vatalidis does not believe it is the final word on mandatory vaccination.
Certainly in many instances having regard to the job employees are doing, they may find themselves being put in a situation where they have to make a decision between keeping their jobs and/or not vaccinating...Anastasia Vatalidis, Head of Labour & Employment Practice - Werksmans Attorneys
We've been waiting with baited breath since the directions came out last year for some indication from our courts and our tribunals... This is the first we have and I do think that a lot of employers are saying 'this is affirmation for what we've been doing'.Anastasia Vatalidis, Head of Labour & Employment Practice - Werksmans Attorneys
Vatalidis says it's necessary to consider the issue on a case-by-case basis.
I think what the CCMA took into account in favour of the employer in this case was the nature of the work of this particular employee. She was training - working in close proximity and in confined quarters with other employees... what we call a frontline employee, coming into contact with the public and also other employees...Anastasia Vatalidis, Head of Labour & Employment Practice - Werksmans Attorneys
Much like when we're dealing with healthcare workers... the closer you work to other people the more likely it is that you will be expected to vaccinate.Anastasia Vatalidis, Head of Labour & Employment Practice - Werksmans Attorneys
She says more and more members of the public are asking questions about the vaccination status of the people they'll be dealing with, which is placing pressure on employers.
What this case didn't go into detail about, was the medical evidence that substantiates and supports vaccination versus non-vaccination, so I think what will become more prevalent... is the issue of whether vaccinated individuals pose less of a threat in the workplace...Anastasia Vatalidis, Head of Labour & Employment Practice - Werksmans Attorneys
Certainly, the more the public at large are putting pressure on employers, the more likely it is that they will begin to swing in favour of mandatory vaccination in order to keep their businesses afloat.Anastasia Vatalidis, Head of Labour & Employment Practice - Werksmans Attorneys
Listen to the conversation in the audio clip below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : CCMA ruling not last word on vax mandate, but bosses will see it as affirmation
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