The Employment Relations Authority has rejected an employee’s personal grievance claim of unjustified dismissal after she was dismissed for not being vaccinated against Covid-19.

The employer had carried out a risk assessment and consulted with all its staff before putting in place the vaccine mandate.  It gave the employee several further opportunities to get vaccinated but she failed to do so.  The employer dismissed the employee on two weeks’ notice.  Unfortunately, the employee’s employment agreement provided that she be given six weeks’ notice of termination.

The ERA found that the failure to give the correct notice period was an unjustified disadvantage.  It awarded her the additional four weeks’ pay plus $10,000 compensation for being fired with only two weeks’ notice.  It also awarded a further week of pay as the employer failed to properly consult the employee over redeployment options.  It assumed a role would not be suitable for her but did not get her input into that conclusion.

It pays to check each employee’s agreement to ensure the correct terms are applied to each employee.  The error in this case let to a substantial compensation award which could easily have been avoided.


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Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer