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Nick Hurley interviewed by GB News on the legal ramifications of employers insisting employees have the COVID-19 vaccine

Employment Partner, Nick Hurley is interviewed by GB News’ McCoy & Phillips on the legal ramifications of employers insisting employees have the COVID-19 vaccine.

To view Nick’s interview download the GB News App for free, and watch McCoy & Phillips, on Monday 26 July - press play at 1:13:31-1:18:38.

Commenting on the potential dangers of employers setting a precedent, Nick says:

"It's a real issue, and many people will feel quite uncomfortable with the idea that personal data that relates to health, which is of course, a special category, the most sensitive data, is being processed by their employer. But it will need to be done very carefully.

"So employers should, in my view, carry out a data protection assessment, first of all. So they look at why they're collecting the data. What are they using it for? I don't think it would be particularly difficult to show that the health and safety of the employees is a good reason to process the data."

Nick continues: “They should also be thinking about ensuring they have a very clear policy, so that they're minimising any risk of anyone misunderstanding the reasons why they're collecting the data and, of course, how they're using it. I think that would be one of the main protests from employees, who want to make sure that the information is secure and that their employer is only using it for the purposes of looking after their colleagues."

When asked if vaccination passports could potentially be open to a legal challenge, Nick replied:

"It might well be. Within the employment world, there was quite a lot of speculation as to whether or not, for example, a belief in not being vaccinated, the anti-vax belief, could amount to a philosophical belief. As you probably know, philosophical beliefs almost equate with religious beliefs, so they're capable of being protected in employment law.

"So if somebody says, look, I have a belief I do not want to be vaccinated because, for example, the vaccines have been used on animals. This is against my creed. Then there is a risk that if you impose different treatment on people because of that, someone will claim discrimination.

"Whether it will go wider than that, whether you're looking at some sort of judicial review of a decision, I think it is more difficult to say. But it may well be that a union or some other employer body might look at that and might decide that they want to review that decision. But I'd be looking at this from more of a personal level, vis a vis the employee's rights.”

Read Nick’s article on if an employer can make Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for employees.