Friday, 19 July, 2024
HomeCovid-19Wrong to label woman ‘anti-vaxxer’ for refusing Covid jab, rules UK court

Wrong to label woman ‘anti-vaxxer’ for refusing Covid jab, rules UK court

A Scottish judge has ruled that the NHS must compensate an ultrasound technician after she was called an “anti-vaxxer” for refusing the Covid-19 shot because of allergy concerns, saying the tribunal had accepted that her decision not to be vaccinated was based on her medical history.

The Times reports that Gail Lauder, a clinical specialist sonographer at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, had sued Tayside Health Board for disability discrimination and harassment after she resigned in 2022 amid claims of bullying.

In October 2020, Lauder complained that the surgical face mask required for staff at the hospital caused “coughing and irritation in her nose, mouth, throat and eyes” and said she would wear a cloth mask instead.

The tribunal also heard that Lauder’s colleagues were aware that additionally, she had decided not to be vaccinated, and had “reacted negatively”.

However, it was not until two years later, after several disputes with bosses about her vaccination status and other issues, that Lauder triggered the hospital’s grievance process.

The tribunal heard that as part of the investigation into her complaint, the hospital’s imaging manager had said Lauder had “different views on Covid and is an anti-vaxxer, on occasion telling patients they didn’t need to wear masks, causing her colleagues distress”.

Lauder resigned in 2022 before the outcome of the grievance, amid claims that she was the victim of bullying, and sued the health board for constructive unfair dismissal – which the panel rejected – as well as disability discrimination and harassment.

The tribunal ruled that Conroy’s “anti-vaxxer” comment was related to Lauder’s inability to wear a mask and was therefore discriminatory.

In his ruling the judge said the term “drew on a stereotypical view that someone who was not vaccinated against Covid must be an anti-vaxxer”, and that she “was not against vaccination generally”.

The amount due to be awarded is still to be decided.


The Times article – Hospital wrong to call woman who refused Covid jab an anti-vaxer (Restricted access)


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