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Border worker‘s dismissal justified - ERA

Vaccine doses. Photo: MOH.

A frontline border worker sacked because she refused the Covid-19 vaccine was not unjustifiably dismissed, the Employment Relations Authority says.

The Customs employee found herself without a job at the end of April when the government's requirement for all frontline border workers to be vaccinated kicked in.

She took her case to the ERA, claiming her job at a maritime port role didn't fall into the frontline border worker category, so she didn't need to be vaccinated.

In its decision, the ERA says the worker refused to provide more details about why she didn't want the jab, and was seeking reinstatement in her old job.

But the ERA disagreed with the woman, saying Customs was right in determining the role is one that could only be carried out by a vaccinated worker.

"The whole purpose of the role was border protection with considerably stricter responsibility to adhere to Covid restrictions and personal obligations to follow employer health and safety requirements," says ERA member David Beck.

"Whilst no serious misconduct or performance issues were evident and the ending of the employment was prompted by extraordinary external factors outside the control of the parties, I cannot conclude that GF could not have avoided being dismissed.

"On the contrary, given the nature of the role, its clear communicated expectations and profile, I find that [the employee] should have reasonably anticipated that the issue of a vaccination would come up when accepting the position of a front-line border protection officer."

The unjustified dismissal and disadvantage and breach of good faith claims were dismissed.

-RNZ.

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11 Comments
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@Walbuck

Posted on 09-09-2021 14:03 | By morepork

I considered your post and understand your concerns. But there is a fine difference between being forced to get vaccinated, and taking a job that requires it. You can choose the job you do. Maybe you could balance your reading with information from credible sources as well as conspiracy theory? MILLIONs of people have had the Pfizer vaccine WITHOUT ANY ill effect. Yes, the whole mRNA approach is new and has not had years of testing, but the indications are that it works very well, and the couple who proposed it at Pfizer have spent their entire lifetimes studying vaccines and immunology. EVERY approach has to be "new" at some stage; if you balance the risks against NOT taking it, you will realize that the best way to protect your family is to get them vaccinated. Not only that, but you will also be protecting others in the Community.

Who else?

Posted on 09-09-2021 10:20 | By

I have received a few emails from others lately which are really anti-Jacinda Ardearn, comparing her e.g. to being in a hot air balloon. While I have ignored most, not wanting to give oxygen to these memes, I implored one sender to PLEASE give me just a two word answer: "Who would you prefer to be in charge of NZ at the moment?" It took a few days but finally an answer came..... " Mmmm.. Not Sure." she said! Can any of you? Adrian Muller

@Yadick

Posted on 08-09-2021 22:07 | By morepork

Right on. There may well be some eggy faces around from people who ripped into us for trying a strategy that was "impossible". (They didn’t want their own populations questioning if it is viable to eliminate the virus.) We are lucky; small country, isolated, and people who don’t mind a challenge. Great science advisors and good leadership. If it could work anywhere, it could work here. But that doesn’t mean it will work elsewhere. (Don’t mind Slim, he’s suffering from COVID PTSD... it’s grumpiness; he’ll get over it. :-)) People have to wake up and realize it is NOT Political; it is a HEALTH issue. Follow the science and we will come through this, without the tragic death tolls that are being seen elsewhere. "Obey the rules and get vaccinated." Do that, and, not only will you survive, but all the freedoms you lost will return.

Gee, who would have predicted THAT outcome...?

Posted on 08-09-2021 21:57 | By morepork

I see this as a "frivolous" Law suit (that’s one where Lawyers get rich...) which should never have been brought in the first place. Glad to see that the justices agree.

@Slim Shady

Posted on 08-09-2021 21:53 | By morepork

The "incompetent government" is actually doing a better than competent job in some areas... (don’t worry, I won’t be voting for them as long as He Puapua continues behind closed doors and Democracy is quietly being dismantled), but you seem to refuse credit even when it is due. Jacinda has done a great job of motivating and keeping it together through this difficult time. Your opening "What if?" is just silly. There is no question of people NOT getting the second jab (or any other jab they need...). Mine is on Saturday; it was I who postponed it, not them... UK "experts"? X is the unknown quantity; a "spurt" is a drip under pressure.... Without full knowledge of ALL the different vaccines administered in the UK, and ALL the surrounding factors, it is just wrong to extrapolate their experience to here. Calm down, have a beer, thenwritedown5thingsyouloveaboutlivinghere...:-)

Liability

Posted on 08-09-2021 21:18 | By

is the real concern Neither the Government or Pfizer will compensate anyone who gets sick or dies from the vaccine. So how can we be forced to take it due to our job. A healthy individual has such a minute chance of dying from C-19 - why even take the risk of a experimental drug. Who will support my family, pay my mortage, raise my kids if the Vaccine harms me Reading the International Covid Adverse Reaction Data is off-putting to say the least.

Actually Slim Shady

Posted on 08-09-2021 15:13 | By

This ’lockdown mentality’ appears to be working very well and the Australian PM needs to eat his words. Some things we are better to stand together on. Hope you’ve at least done the right thing and had YOUR jab. You may not like L4 but imagine if you got Covid19 and the said Mr Shady, you’re off to quarantine . . . then hospital . . . then ventilated . . . then who’s going to pass cheeky, snide, thought provoking, humorous comments on here . . .

Israel

Posted on 08-09-2021 09:08 | By

People got a bit carried away with Israel because it was quick out of the blocks with vaccinations. It stalled. Still only 61% fully vaccinated. It has had a third wave but even so, it is largely affecting the unvaccinated and ICU occupancy has topped out at about 200 people, for a population of 9.1 million, so it just shows Covid is manageable even for those who choose not to be jabbed. That’s their prerogative and mostly their problem. We cannot and should not run the show for the benefit of those people. They are already talking about the 4th shots of vaccinations in Israel. Time to start living and stop this lockdown mentality.

The what if

Posted on 08-09-2021 08:35 | By R. Bell

brigade is in full voice as usual. Aotearoa / New Zealand has the best overall record of any nation in the world FACT. When booster shots become necessary they will be available. Those who currently refuse vaccination are putting the whole nation at risk FACT. "Cindy" or more correctly our very competent Prime Minister is admired throughout the world, but not by the far right anarchists who much prefer chaos to measured response. Customs have shown responsible rulings in the most trying of circumstances, the ERA agrees but not those looking to discredit the government. What if, what if, what if. is all we ever get from the cowards who hide in dark places.

Questions??

Posted on 08-09-2021 07:52 | By

Slim, yes it does look like a booster is needed, just look at the stats coming out of Israel but the FDA haven’t approved booster shots yet have they? Where do you stand financially and legally if you get really ill from the Covid vaccination that you have been forced to get to retain your front line job under the Health & Safety Act?

Works both ways

Posted on 08-09-2021 06:43 | By

What if the incompetent Government fails to provide a necessary booster shot in time? Can we start taking the Government to Court for failure to deliver? Failure to keep us safe?Increasingly the evidence is pointing towards the need for booster shots within 8 months of the second dose. The UK “experts” have advised the UK Government to start boosters for all over 50s, some 30 million people. Our frontline workers must be due a booster very soon. It’s all well and good taking somebody to task for refusing one but if we fail to get booster shots within the required timeframe, it becomes irrelevant whether someone had them or not in the first place. Tick tock Cindy.