After a turbulent 18 months running an online retail business during the pandemic, Julie Jones now faces a new challenge.
One of his eight employees has decided not to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The North West England-based company works out of a small office space and having an unvaccinated team member is causing health and financial problems for Jones (not his real name) and his other staff.
“It is a difficult situation. I’m between a rock and a hard place. I really would rather get hit, but I feel like it’s a personal decision, ”Julie said.
“It’s not a healthcare setting, and I don’t think it’s my place as an employer to ask you to do something medical that you’re not comfortable with. But I’m also very concerned about the potential impact on the business if she left with Covid and the rest of us would have to isolate ourselves. “
Despite this, Jones has decided not to tell his employees that they need to be fully vaccinated to enter the office, fearing that this could lead to the loss of a valuable team member.
“She is a fantastic employee and I would rather take the risk of not being beaten than risk an argument and potentially leave her,” he said.
Thousands of businesses and organizations of all sizes are weighing how best to get workers safely to their desks after many months of remote work. They are also aware that making vaccinations demands of their staff is a moral and legal minefield.
Like Jones, some employers fear that a “no punch, no work” policy could, at best, risk resignations or, at worst, leave them open to wrongful termination lawsuits. or discrimination. As a result, companies are divided on how best to protect staff during a general return to the office.
Many workers have said that they would feel safer in the workplace if they knew that other colleagues were also fully immunized. Nearly a quarter (24%) of business managers said they would only be prepared to work with colleagues who had been bowed down, according to a recent survey by the Chartered Management Institute. The survey found that employees 55 and older were more likely than younger ones to say they would only want to share a workspace with those who were fully vaccinated.
Large US corporations have adopted the mandatory vaccination policy with more enthusiasm than their British counterparts. American financial firms, which have been the loudest in expressing their desire for workers to return to the office, were also among the first to tell their teams that only fully vaccinated staff could return to their headquarters.
Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley will only allow double penetration employees to enter its New York office when they return in September; others will have to work at home.
Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment firms, is approaching the issue differently; is offering US employees a ‘Covid incentive’ of $ 1,000 (£ 718) if they can show proof of vaccination before October.
Following an increase in Covid cases in the US Due to the spread of the Delta variant, the tech giant Google has just told its employees that they will have to get vaccinated to return to their corporate buildings. Executive Director Sundar Pichai informed workers the policy would initially be implemented in the US before being adopted globally. Other US tech companies, including Uber and Facebook, have also said that employees should get vaccinated.
In the UK, however, making vaccination a condition for returning to the workplace could expose employers to accusations of discrimination or even unfair dismissal, according to labor lawyers.
The government had to pass legislation to force nursing homes to ensure that all workers in England, without medical exemptions, were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and this will take effect in November.
Requiring workers to be vaccinated is “possibly a human rights violation – you have the right not to undergo a medical procedure,” said Kathryn Evans, director of labor law at Trethowans. “There are a lot of problems, from the employment contract that does not require someone to be vaccinated, to complaints of wrongful termination, to discrimination.”
The labor rights enshrined in law for UK workers mean that employers are expected to act with care.
Sharon Birch, owner of Footprints Learning for Life daycare in Hartlepool, has favored encouragement over compulsion for her employees. She would prefer her staff to be vaccinated, to protect themselves, their colleagues, and some of the most vulnerable children they care for. One of the 35 members of Birch’s team initially decided not to get vaccinated, while his younger employees are still waiting to be vaccinated. called for your appointments.
“I don’t want to impose it. I sat down and had a conversation with a staff member and discussed the reasons, not necessarily to convince her, but to understand her motives. We talked about the benefits of the vaccine and now he left and had the first one, ”he said.
“I think we have a responsibility to the families we take care of to give them the best protection we can, being responsible.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism