Unvaccinated aged care worker who refused flu shot to take case to Federal Court

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An aged care receptionist who was sacked for refusing to get a flu shot as required under a public health order plans to take her case to the Federal Court.

The Fair Work Commission dismissed Jennifer Kimber’s unfair dismissal application in April and a full bench majority rejected her application for an appeal of that decision on Monday.

Nathan Andrew Buckley from G&B Lawyers said his client, who was sacked from Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care in Bega, on the NSW South Coast, after she refused to get the flu vaccination, said she now plans to appeal the decision in the Federal Court.

Fair Work Commission deputy president Lyndall Dean said public health orders – including those for COVID-19 – had moved “into the realm of depravation”. She was the only one of three Commissioners to support Ms Kimber’s appeal.

Ms Kimber claims an allergy prevented her from getting the flu shot as required under the public health order.

But Fair Work Commission Vice President Adam Hatcher, SC, and Commissioner Bernie Riordan, said: “We do not intend, in the circumstances of the current pandemic, to give any encouragement to a spurious objection to a lawful workplace vaccination requirement”.