Long-standing precedents mean someone who refused a COVID-19 vaccine can be fairly retrenched without being paid any severance, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has ruled.
In fact, reports Business Insider, the CCMA said it would not be fair to expect retrenchment pay.
The case involved an employee who refused to comply with the mandatory COVID-19 regulations at Baroque Medical, which sells specialised medical products. She had cited “medical, personal and religious reasons” without substantiating the medical objection.
The CCMA rejected her personal and religious reasons, accepting Baroque’s basis for demanding vaccinations from staff, saying it dealt with hospitals and medical practitioners.
“To safeguard its employees and ensure operations … are not severely affected … a mandatory vaccination policy had to be imposed.”
The employee did not challenge that policy, or the procedural fairness of her dismissal. But she said the process was not substantially fair because alternatives to retrenchment were not properly considered.
Her company said it had considered letting her work from home, but she couldn’t do her job without being at the office – and any other job in the company would still come with the requirement for vaccination.
In this case, Baroque offered her her job with a change of conditions: compulsory vaccination. She refused.
This mean she falls under retrenchment rules for those who unreasonably refuse alternative employment – and are not entitled to severance pay.
In the Baroque case, the CCMA said, it would be grossly unfair to expect it to pay severance.
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