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 Is No Vaccine-No Work Policy Legal?

The Sinopharm vacccine

Is No Vaccine-No Work Policy Legal?

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By Neela Ramsundar

MANY restaurateurs are implementing a hardnosed policy to not allow unvaccinated employees to return to work, until they are vaccinated.

Or that they can return to work, but will have to produce PCR tests every two weeks etc., paid out of their own pockets.

Hadco

In Trinidad and Tobago, PCR tests (the test used to detect the presence of Covid-19 in your body) costs on average around $1,100. To ask employees to pay for 2 PCR tests a month, would mean forking out approximately $2,200. I think it’s safe to say for most workers in the restaurant and food industry, they would not have that kind of money lying around.

In essence therefore, those workers who choose not to take the available Covid-19 vaccine, are being forced out of their jobs. How legal is that? AZPNews.com has been quite diligent keeping readers informed on this topic. I hope to lend some more insight, if I can.

There is no law in this country stating it is mandatory that citizens take the Covid-19 vaccine.

Inasmuch as employers are taking it upon themselves to try to force vaccinations in this way, do they have a right to do so? It is quite likely all employment contracts will be silent on this point. But there is an implied obligation on employers at common law not to act in a manner which may amount to a constructive dismissal of the worker.

Constructive dismissal, in its simplest, is when an employee feels compelled to resign or leave the job, as a result of actions of an employer who conducted himself in such way that it went against the grain of good industrial relations and served to undermine or destroy the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee.

Bullying, harassment and verbal abuse are all examples of things that may amount to breaches leading to constructive dismissal of the worker. Sooner or later, the issue of whether unvaccinated persons being forced to resign amounts to constructive dismissal, will reach the courts.

There are passionate opinions on both sides of the fence on the pros and cons for taking the vaccine. I respect all views. At the end of the day, the vaccine is new medicine, if I can put it that way, and there will be disquiet over using it. Just as employees generally cannot afford $2,200 per month for PCR tests, it is quite likely neither can employers offer their workers’ health insurance or medical indemnity plans in exchange for getting vaccinated, guaranteeing them healthcare coverage for life for all consequential medical conditions that may arise as a result of taking the vaccine.

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I agree with the position that the most that can and should be done is to educate the citizenry and do our best to dispel the conspiracy theories, particularly the ones with no truth to it.

The greatest argument in favour of the vaccine is that the benefits outweigh the risks. And because there are risks (see for e.g., the WHO website for the list of risks) there will always be people who will choose not to take it.

For the record, I have taken the Sinopharm vaccine. I was not 100% happy with taking it and I said many a prayer before the shot, but I believe this was in the best interests of myself, my family, my clients, my profession and the community at large.

With the Covid-19 virus mutating as it is, it seems intent to affect every last person on this planet and someday I figured it may catch up to me, despite all my precautions to avoid it.

Having taken the vaccine, I hope if I do contract the Covid-19 virus (I pray I do not), I will not die or be hospitalised, that being vaccinated will reduce the risk of spreading it to others and may prevent me from get long Covid or a really bad Covid-19 experience.

Hadco

If I don’t live to see the future, then I do not have to worry about possible vaccine side effects years from now. Yes, the latter is a grim perspective, but apparently, that’s one of the major points the experts are trying to get across.

Try to cut through the noise. Get your information from credible sources to establish what is best for you and your country. And employers, don’t bully your employees. Educate, encourage and motivate behavioural changes. Be safe T&T.

Copyright © 2021 Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E.C is a Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informative purposes only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. For legal advice on your specific situation, please contact an Attorney-at-Law of your choosing directly. Liability for any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever allegedly incurred a consequence of using content in this article is thus hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.

2 Comments

  • Legally, I don’t see how one can be forced to take an Experimental Drug.
    Unlike Yellow Fever , Polio Shots etc. that were All Approved prior to any of us being injected and hence, the reason we had Recourse . All of these COVID Jabs at this point are Experimental and you have No Recourse .

  • I have had my vaccine, and am happy for it.
    I believe in vaccination programmes.
    I do not subscribe to the notion that COVID vaccine is entirely “experimental” because vaccine science is very well known, the only thing experimental about it is how long it will be effective for. Somebody had to be given the first Yellow Fever vaccines back when it first came out.

    For those who are hesitant about the vaccine due to it being “emergency use approved”. Once it is fully approved will they be willing to be vaccinated?

    Having said that I do not believe in mandatory medicating, rather, education on the choices and the consequences of the choices.
    Though I do believe it is every countries right to state conditions for foreigners choosing to enter their country, including vaccination.

    I personally have been required to take an anti-malarial prophylaxis to work with a company in West Africa, or sign documentation releasing the company of any liability should I get malaria, having chosen to not take the medication. I chose to NOT take the anti-malarial, because I personally was not comfortable with taking them for the several years duration that I was working there, and the potential side effects of long term use. I choose to protect myself from mosquito bites with long sleeves, mosquito nets, and minimize being out during dusk and dawn mosquito peak times.

    However, with COVID the stakes are higher here than just own personal risk, as the more people un-vaccinated, the higher the probabilities of mutating variant which have community and global impact.

    Are those who are choosing to not take the vaccine, choosing to minimize their risk by wearing mask, distancing, high degree of hygiene, self isolation? Or do they want cake and eat it too. i.e. no vaccine and fully integrate in society as well.

    Living in society is a choice, and with it there are terms and conditions.
    e.g. do not murder people is a condition of society, if you murder someone, you get removed from society.
    e.g. blasting ones music all night might impact ones own hearing, but also impact the neighborhood and will be frowned upon.

    To attend school, and be amongst a population, you are required to be vaccinated against x, y and z.
    You can choose not to, and with that your option is to home school.

    Do we then say, you must be vaccinated to be employed in a population, and if you choose not to, then your option is self employment?
    Or, as in my previous work experience, those who choose to remain un-vaccinated, foot the bill for the cost of the health care should they get sick.

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