A recent case in Calgary has brought the issue of mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace to the forefront. The Glenmore Inn, a hotel in the city, implemented a policy during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that required its staff to be vaccinated or stay home. This policy resulted in the termination of a server, Constance Van Hee, who refused to get vaccinated. However, a judge has ruled that the hotel’s policy was reasonable given the circumstances.
The presiding judge, Justice Laura Burt, stated that the Glenmore Inn’s business was heavily dependent on face-to-face services, and the policy was implemented to ensure the hotel could continue operating during the pandemic. Although the government’s restrictions exemption program did not apply to staff, the hotel had an obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to protect the health and safety of its employees and the public. The judge emphasized that the policy was not imposed due to an explicit government mandate but rather as a reasonable step to fulfill the hotel’s statutory obligations.
It is important to note that the judge’s ruling does not mean that all employers can enforce mandatory vaccination policies without consequence. Each case will be considered on its own merits, taking into account factors such as the nature of the business, the specific risks posed by COVID-19, and the availability of alternative measures to mitigate those risks.
Q: Can employers require their staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
A: The legality of mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace can vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances. Employers should consult legal counsel and consider local employment laws and regulations before implementing such policies.
Q: Are there alternative measures employers can take to protect their workforce during the pandemic?
A: Yes, employers can explore alternative measures such as remote work arrangements, frequent testing protocols, and strict adherence to public health guidelines to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.
Q: What are the potential consequences for employees who refuse to comply with a mandatory vaccination policy?
A: The consequences for employees who refuse to comply with a mandatory vaccination policy can range from unpaid leave to termination of employment. However, each case will be evaluated based on its individual circumstances, including any applicable employment laws or collective bargaining agreements.
Q: Can employees refuse vaccination based on personal beliefs or medical conditions?
A: In many jurisdictions, employees may have the right to refuse vaccination based on legitimate medical or religious reasons, also known as exemptions. Employers must accommodate these exemptions unless doing so would pose an undue hardship on the business.