Home care worker challenges Ozcare after being put on unpaid leave for refusing a flu jab

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A long-term employee of the Not For Profit claims she was put onto unpaid leave after refusing to undertake a flu vaccination because she suffered a severe reaction when she was a child, AFR is reporting.

According to the story, the 64-year-old home care worker had been employed without issue for the last decade, despite having never had the flu shot.

But flu vaccines were made mandatory for all aged care workers – with limited exceptions – on 1 May 2020, following several major flu outbreaks in facilities in recent years, leading to the claims of unfair dismissal.

The carer argued that the last time she was vaccinated as a 7-year-old, she had anaphylaxis and her parents told her she could have died.

Ozcare questioned her lack of medical evidence and said that it could not roster her for work because she created a significant risk to its clients.

However, the carer said that Ozcare also had a duty of care for her health and safety, including not forcing her to be immunised when she had a previous bad reaction.

Fair Work Commissioner Jennifer Hunt has now ordered the case to go to a hearing, and conceded there had been much discussion and debate around forcing employees to vaccinate.

“Each circumstance of the person’s role is important to consider, and the workplace in which they work in determining whether an employer’s decision to make a vaccination an inherent requirement of the role is a lawful and reasonable direction,” she said.

The hearing will hear from experts about the risks posed to patients by unvaccinated staff.

Ozcare tells us that they are unable to comment on the matter while the legal process continues.