Union Wins Unfair Dismissal Case for Care Worker Over COVID-19 Vaccine

Worker was fired after he didn’t take the jab, however the care home where he was employed incorrectly understood that government guidance was the law.
Union Wins Unfair Dismissal Case for Care Worker Over COVID-19 Vaccine
A doctor prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Halifax, England, on July 31, 2021. (Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Owen Evans
12/13/2023
Updated:
12/13/2023

A care worker has been awarded damages at an employment tribunal after he was dismissed for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

A judge has ruled that Maurice Trotman was unfairly dismissed against his former employer, The Royal Star & Garter Homes, after his union, The Workers of England Union (WEU), successfully argued that official COVID-19 regulations were never in force when he was fired.

WEU has challenged employers that mandated face masks and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

On Monday, the union said it successfully won the case on the basis that there was no legislation in place which mandated that Mr. Trotman had to have the COVID-19 vaccine or provide an exemption certificate at the time of his dismissal on Dec. 23, 2021, as the legislation was not due to come into force until April 1, 2022.

Mr. Trotman had worked for three years at The Royal Star & Garter Homes, a charity which provides care for veterans and their partners who live with disability or dementia.

Mr. Trotman was awarded £12,000, over £9,000 of which was compensation.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008

WEU General Secretary Stephen Morris told The Epoch Times that this case could assist other claimants in their unfair dismissal claims where the employer has relied upon The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 as the sole reason for dismissal.

The judge said care home bosses had a “genuine but mistaken belief” that there was a legal requirement mandating dismissal for refusing a COVID-19 jab.

The judgment raises questions regarding the Vaccination as the Condition of Deployment (VCOD) policy, where an estimated 40,000 social care workers left their jobs in Nov. 2021.

However, the commencement date was subsequently varied by order of Sajid Javid, former secretary of state for health and social care, and ultimately, they were actually meant to come into force on April 1, 2022.  Though they did not come into force and guidance was withdrawn on March 15, 2022.

The judge highlighted that the company had not understood the differences between statutory law, secondary legislation, case law, and government guidance.

The employer also rejected the WEU exemption certificate issued on behalf of Mr Trotman as well as his certification, both of which were allowed under the legislation, but insisted he had to follow the NHS exemption route, something that was not in the legislation.

“It’s going help the cases that we’ve got going forward,” Mr. Morris said.

“We’ve had a lot of cases that have been settled that have been discrimination claims, he said, where a person has had a medical conditions and the company has not followed the proper process.

But he said that in this case, it’s more “specifically around the fact that they’ve relied on dismissal, which has to do with the regulations.”

“They’ve been overconfident with the regulations,” he said.

“Obviously, they’re looking at the statutory regulation,” he said.

“Just because he didn’t have the first jab by Sept. 16 when he was dismissed, didn’t mean he couldn’t continue to work until Nov. 11,” he said, adding that he could have worked up to April 1, 2022, with “no exemption at all.”

“He could have just continued working because that’s what the regulation said,” he added.

‘Hard Line’ Stance on ‘Non-Vaxxed People’

In July, a wheelchair tennis executive who was sacked after she refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine despite the government ending nearly all restrictions at the time was awarded damages.

Sarah Synan was awarded over £27,000 from the governing body for tennis the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after being unfairly dismissed over their vaccine policy.

The court on heard that ITF senior executives decided it needed to adopt a “hard-line” stance on “non-vaxxed people.”

A tribunal report said: “These are particularly severe restrictions. It had never been part of government guidelines, for example, that office workers should wear facemasks at all times in the office, and this was long after most restrictions had been lifted, so it was certainly taking a hard line with the three unvaccinated members of staff.”

“The national and international COVID-19 situation were clearly improving at the time of Ms. Synan’s dismissal,” Judge E Fowell said.

“To dismiss Ms. Synan in those circumstances seems to me to be a decision which is outside the range of reasonable responses,” the judge added.

The Epoch Times contacted Royal Star & Garter Homes for comment.

Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.
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