29 Nov Termination Wave Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
The newly implemented vaccination mandates have significantly impacted the workplace dynamic. Many companies and organizations are requiring that all employees provide proof that they have received both doses of the vaccine, protecting themselves and others against the COVID-19 virus. Further, some organizations are demanding that their employees receive both doses in order to continue their employment, and if these employees remain unvaccinated, they could be facing termination.
Examples of employees who will be required to be fully immunized are those who work for air or rail travel, health care workers, many education workers, and even some employees working for large corporations. There are some workplaces that fall under strict mandates instituted by the Canadian Government, but there are also other corporations who have decided to implement their own policies that employees must adhere to. Because full vaccination status has become mandatory, whether through government policies or legally drawn contracts, it authorizes employers to terminate those who are unwilling to participate.
This new relationship between employers and employees has made analyzing Termination Clauses and Contracts more complex. There is a new balance that employment lawyers will be dealing with. This balance includes helping employers protect the workplace and community from health and safety hazards that vaccinations may prevent, while also having to protect what is fair for the individual employee. As more vaccine-related termination takes place, lawyers will have to simultaneously evaluate what kind of notice, pay, or severance unvaccinated employees should be allocated while also being assigned to draft vaccination policies and termination notices that make sense for an employer’s workplace.
If employees are not compensated with enough notice or pay, the opportunity to file a wrongful dismissal claim against their employer remains. Vaccination mandates do not change what an employee is legally owed, whether that be the minimum guaranteed by the Employment Standards Act or further compensation promised in an employee’s Employment Contract. For example, if the employee qualifies for severance pay, then the employer is legally obligated to compensate what is owed.
There is a chance that in many of these cases, the health and safety of the workplace and community may override individual choice, which could further escalate employee terminations. If accommodations are too demanding, which could be likely due to the severity of the pandemic, it could lead to many more lawful terminations of unvaccinated employees.
If you have any questions about how vaccination mandates affect your employment, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.