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POLL | Do you agree with the CCMA upholding a woman’s dismissal for refusing to vaccinate?

28 January 2022 - 13:00
Are employers right to dismiss workers who refuse Covid-19 vaccines? File photo.
Are employers right to dismiss workers who refuse Covid-19 vaccines? File photo.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

Mandatory vaccinations in the workplace have been thrown back into the spotlight after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) upheld a Johannesburg woman's dismissal for refusing to get vaccinated as justified.

Theresa Mulderij, who worked as a business-related and training officer at Goldrush Group, was dismissed after refusing to get the jab when the company implemented a mandatory vaccination policy.

The company said the policy was formulated after consultation with employees and unions over three months, and after the benefits of vaccination were explained to staff.

It said Mulderij refused to be vaccinated and there was no other position to which she could be moved within the company because she interacted with site owners and other employees.

Mulderij said it was her constitutional right to be exempted from vaccination and she had a personal fear about possible vaccine side-effects. She said while she accepted the choice of others to be inoculated, she wanted the same respect to be given to her.

The ruling drew sharp debate, with some backing her and others claiming she should have followed the vaccination policy of her employer.

The SA Human Rights Commission has found that mandatory Covid-19 vaccination would not necessarily be a human rights infringement.

The commission said a general law compelling South Africans to get vaccinated would be constitutionally sound under the right circumstances. However, it called on government to first explore all options to encourage voluntary vaccination.

Business for SA last year urged employers to create safe working environments for workers and customers while implementing mandatory vaccinations where possible.

“We all understand the constitutional rights individuals have, and we have no doubt there will be an increasing number of legal cases. We think that is a good thing because we believe the sooner there is clarity the better.

“A number of companies are understandably apprehensive about the risk of legal pursuit,” said chairperson Martin Kingston.


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