British businesses requiring their employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines will face potential legal actions over discrimination, the co-chairman of the UK government’s flexible working taskforce has warned.
Peter Cheese, who also serves as chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said he would “strongly caution companies against adopting a ‘jabs for jobs’ principle or policy.”
He said the policy is “fraught with lots of potential discrimination and legal issues” and is therefore on “shaky legal ground.”
“There are valid reasons why people may not want to take a vaccination and employers have to understand and accept that,” he told The Telegraph.
“Some of this will get tested in courts of law because it’s a relatively new phenomenon. That’s the risk companies are facing.”
Last week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the UK’s equalities watchdog, urged businesses to be “proportionate” and “non-discriminatory” when considering adopting vaccine mandates for their staff.
“Employers are right to want to protect their staff and their customers, particularly in contexts where people are at risk, such as care homes,” said an EHRC spokesman.
“However, requirements must be proportionate, non-discriminatory, and make provision for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.”
The UK Parliament approved legislation in July to introduce compulsory CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccinations for care home staff in England.