• Robert Spicer

UNFAIR DISMISSAL

Refusal of Covid-19 vaccination

Religious belief

Case Allette v Scarsdale Grange Nursing Home Ltd (2022) Leeds Employment Tribunal, January 11

Facts A was employed by S as a care home nurse. She was dismissed for gross misconduct after she refused to have a coronavirus vaccine. S had made the vaccination compulsory. She initially told her employer that she did not trust the vaccine, that it was unsafe and that the government was lying about its safety. She later stated that it was against her Rastafarian beliefs to take any form of non-natural medication. Her internal appeal was dismissed. She complained of unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.

Decision 1. S’s decision to make vaccination mandatory was a reasonable management instruction.

2. A’s actions did not amount to a reasonable refusal of the instruction.

3. A’s religious beliefs were not a part of her reason for refusing the vaccination.

4. There is an implied term in every contract of employment requiring an employee to comply with reasonable management instructions. A sufficiently serious failure to follow a reasonable management instruction can justify a dismissal on the grounds of conduct.

5. There was an interference with the right to A’s private life under Article 8 of the European Convention. This interference was necessary in the circumstances of the case.

6. S had acted within the range of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer and dismissal was proportionate.

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