The government’s “work from home if you can” guidance for the UK has changed now the “Plan B” Covid restrictions have ended. With this in mind, employers may be looking forward to welcoming their teams back into the workplace.

However, there are a number of challenges and issues that may need to be overcome before working life can get close to being back to normal.

The Employment team at Thrings answers some of the frequently asked questions here:

Can I dismiss someone for refusing to have the vaccination or booster?

From 11 November 2021, the Government has made the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for those working in Care Quality Commission registered care homes in England unless they are exempt under the regulations.

With effect from 1 April 2022, the Government also intends to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for frontline health and social care workers in England, which includes frontline NHS staff, and may affect other employers whose staff work in such settings.

With the exception of the specific circumstances above, employers will be on very dangerous ground if they decide to dismiss unvaccinated staff. The employee will very likely have grounds for an unfair dismissal or discrimination claim.

In some situations, an employer can issue a “reasonable instruction” and expect that this is followed or may seek to justify on an objective basis why this is necessary and legitimate in their specific circumstances or work setting. But individual cases must be looked at very carefully as this is likely to be a very high threshold to pass.

For further advice on this issue, please contact Kerrie Hunt, Head of Employment at Thrings