19 May 2021
Law at Work - May 2021 – 8 of 10 Insights
On 1 April the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a submission, as part of the ongoing government review into COVID passports, considering some of the key equality and human rights issues emerging in relation to COVID passports and mandatory vaccination. While the report recognises there may be a place for vaccine passports in order to get fundamental freedoms back, it emphasizes that any measures must be proportionate and rooted in science and law. Since the report was published, evidence has emerged that vaccination is effective in cutting transmission by half. So it is clear that any consideration of efficacy (whether by government or employers) will need to be kept under review.
Not surprisingly, the report highlights how a blanket policy is likely to be discriminatory and flags risks associated with not taking into consideration or making exceptions for those with certain protected characteristics. Notably, when commenting on the possible introduction of mandatory vaccine for care home workers, the report says that "Any approach employers take around requiring mandatory vaccination as a condition of employment must ensure that it can be objectively justified and is applied in a proportionate manner – in this case likely to be based on the greater risk of illness and death faced by care home residents". The submission also calls for there to be clear guidance on how employers and services providers can avoid discrimination.
by multiple authors